Chubby Checker doing the Twist

Chubby Checker doing the Twist

This photograph shows Chubby Checker performing the dance craze that he initiated with his 1960 hit record The Twist. Everyone was doing it. The papers were full of pictures of celebrities twistin’ the night away - Greta Garbo, Judy Garland, Margot Fonteyn, the Duchess of Windsor.

Checker followed up the Twist with several other novelty dance records, notably the Fly and the Pony. Other singers promoted the Mashed Potato and the Watusi. But the Twist caught on because it needed no training. It was simply a matter of, as the title implied, twisting the hips, the feet moving on the floor as if grinding out a cigarette stub. And you didn’t even have to have a partner. From now on, it was acceptable just to dance alone to the beat.

By 1966, interest in dance novelties had waned but the Twist and Chubby Checker were assured of their place in public folklore.