How to Dance the Twist Step by Step


Each generation claims its own favorite songs and dances, and the 1960s is no exception. Whereas the teens of the 1950s enjoyed dancing the "Bop," the teens of the following decade came up with a particular dance step that led to many other offshoot dances. This dance is the Twist--inspired by Hank Ballard's song "The Twist." The dance fell right into synch with the music--whether it was a song by Chubby Checker or the Beatles. You can dance the Twist by yourself (it's great for the waist), with a partner or with a large crowd of people. But the Twist involves more than just standing in place and twisting at the waist.

  • Turn on your favorite music; preferably tunes from the early 1960s.

  • Stand with your feet about one to two feet apart but with the right (or left) foot more in front of you than the other for better leverage. Your body weight will shift from the front leg to the back leg as you twist.

  • Hold your arms at your side but slightly bent at the elbows. You will use your arms to help your body twist from side to side.

  • Start twisting at the waist from left to right (the same motion used to twist off a bottle cap).

  • Lean your torso slightly forward with weight on that front leg (as you continue twisting at the waist), then lean your torso slightly backwards as you continue to twist.

  • If your knees will allow it, squat all the way down while twisting and then slowly twist back up. You can even do a slight jump in the air or raise one leg for style.

Tips & Warnings

  • Twisting in socks on a non-carpeted floor allows for easier movement, but many a dancer has done the Twist for hours on the dance floor wearing heels, boots or tennis shoes. Don't concentrate so much on the proper placement of your legs or how you hold your arms, or you won't enjoy the dance. Young people in the 1960s enjoyed the Twist because they could chat with their partner while twisting or just do their own thing.
  • Don't try dancing the Twist if you have a bad back or bad knees.

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  • Photo Credit Loretta Humble @
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