The Watusi was a dance craze that became popular in America during the 1960s (it was the second most popular dance in the US after the Twist!).
The dancer stands with knees slightly bent and moves backwards and forwards by one or two small rhythmic steps. The arms are held straight and flail up and down in time with the music, with the head bobbing slightly to accentuate the arm flailing.
|Luci Baines Johnson dancing with Steve McQueen, 1964|
There were several songs that made reference to the Watusi. The Vibrations released "The Watusi" in 1961 and The Orlons had the biggest hit of their career with their recording of "The Wah-Watusi" in 1962. In 1963 Chubby Checker released his version of "The Wah-Watusi" and later that year Smokey Robinson and the Miracles recorded their own version. The dance is even mentioned in Wilson Pickett's "Land of 1000 Dances" in 1966.
Puerto Rican jazz musician Ray Barretto is most associated with the dance. He recorded "El Watusi" in 1961 and the success of the song meant that he came to be typecast (something he disliked).
|Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward|
So when you're out dancing at the weekend, make like a go-go girl and do the Watusi!