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Rock Research Project by Fatimah Safari
Project Name : Rock Research Project by Fatimah Safari
Description : Twist: The Dance Craze That Revolutionized Rock 'N' Roll
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The Twist
What was the origin of the Twist and how did it evolve into a global dance craze? Who are the three co-founding fathers of the Twist?

Fatimah Safari


Prof. David Valcarcel

Research Report


Twist: The Dance Craze That Revolutionized Rock ‘N’ Roll


       I.            Introduction

  1. Evolution of the Twist
  2. The Origin

    II.            Hank Ballard, the Co-founder of Twist

  1. Wrote and Recorded “The Twist”

 III.            Dick Clark, the King of Billboards and Co-founder of Twist

      A. The Genus that facilitated the revolution of the Twist

 IV.            Chubby Checker, the Co-founder and King of Twist

  1. The Golden boy chosen to record and perform Twist

    V.            Worldwide Dance Craze

 VI.            Twist Hits the Billboard

  1. American groups
  2. British groups

VII.            Popular culture at the height of the dance craze

  1. Comic books
  2. Television shows
    1. The Dick Van Dykes show
    2. Leave it to Beaver
    3. The Flintstones

C.    Movies and Documentaries

  1. 1993 Twist by Ron Mann
  2. 1994 Pulp Fiction by John Travolta & Uma Thurman
  3. 2007 Spiderman 3
  4. Toys: Twist and dance toys and games

VIII.            Conclusion

Twist: The Dance Craze That Revolutionized Rock ‘N’ Roll


The best way to express happiness is to dance to the tune of music and sway your hips with the ever pleasing rhythm of music. Twist, the dance craze that revolutionized rock ‘n ‘roll, tells about the way this dance form evolved and how it spread around the globe like lightening. To the alarm of many parents and the media, Twist gyrated to the top of the charts, inspiring movies, follow-up songs, and putting a New York nightclub called the Peppermint Lounge on the map. In this report, I will explore the enduring history of the Twist and how the three founding fathers of Twist: Hank Ballard, Dick Clark and Chubby Checker popularized the global dance craze.



 The evolution of Twist in 1960 was no accident. It emerged during a period of discontent in American history when young people revolutionized dance fads and replaced mustiness with sexy, fun moves. Prior to that time, one couldn’t dance without a partner. Besides you have to learn the complicated dance steps in order to dance. Imagine having to learn dance steps to do the Charleston, the waltz, the foxtrot, the jitterbug or square dance with a partner. American youths yearned to be freed from the bondage and tight control parents and the media placed over their lives and the type of music they danced and listened to. This meant that they either have to hide while listening to music or tell Pinocchio-like tall tales about certain R&B and pop music they were listening or dancing to, otherwise, there might be ramification. Frustrated, teens rebelled and thus explored alternatives to the cultural stereotypes embraced by their parents and grandparents. With growing youth uprising against the media, the dance fad known as twist gradually emerged in the alleys, streets, and night clubs as people danced the night away often without partners. The Twist dance, which was controversial at the time, involves swiveling hip and shuffling foot movements. It became a national craze and thus the dawn of a new era! (The History of Twist 6).



The Origin

The Twist's original inspiration came from the African American plantation dance called "wringin' and twistin," which has been traced back to the 1890s. However, its original aesthetic origins, such as the use of pelvic movement and the shuffling foot movement, can be traced all the way back to West Africa. Throughout the 20th Century, the dance evolved until emerging to a mass audience in the 1960s (Hoffman, Dance Crazes 5).