Twist: history, facts, scandals, popularity in the USSR and the USA
If you've watched Pulp Fiction or live performances by rock 'n' roll icons (including "The King" Elvis Presley), then you're sure to know what's what. twist - or at least what it is. It is an energetic, fiery and very spectacular dance that has become the epitome of the of the early rock 'n' roll era! And today it is hard to believe that many years ago it seriously hurt someone's feelings, was considered "devilish" (like all the music that started rock), and for a long time literally fought for its existence! Yes, yes, they wanted to ban it - and various religious organisations were involved in it, as well as doctors (and their words do have the power to instil fear and influence the opinions of millions of people...). But what is the reason? What is wrong with this fun and harmless at first glance dance?
In fact, this colourful dance, which became a symbol of rock 'n' roll, appeared earlier than the songs in which it was mentioned. However, the twist culminated in 1960 when Chubby Checker released a cover of a song by Hank Ballard and his band The Midnighters "Let's Twist."which was originally a B side (i.e. no big bets were placed on it). The remarkable thing about the whole story is that the original was born under the powerful impression of a dance that Ballard saw in a club in the late 1950s.
So: Checker's version became a big hit, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and subsequently repeating its triumph. And from that moment on, the twist became an integral part of the cultural hangout: it was a fashion craze that eventually turned into a real phenomenon - it seemed that people just couldn't get enough of this dance! However - any success always comes with a scandal. When the twist craze was in its heyday, there were those who argued that it should be banned immediately!
The most "uncultured" dance
As we've already emphasised above, the twist appeared at the turn of the 50s and 60s. And it's often attributed to teenagers, who actually inspired Ballard's track of the same name. However, when Chubby Checker released his own cover, the dance didn't just gain immense popularity - it gained attention of a more mature generation. This contributed to him being performed in films and TV shows (well, actually his current cult status). A chain reaction was set in motion after Checker made a spectacular appearance on the "The Ed Sullivan Show.". His performance was so well received that soon only those who had never watched television or visited clubs didn't know about the twist ....
However, amid the frenzy of popularity, the dance began to be criticised - and very harshly at that. Mostly from religious groups and conservatives who argued that the twist, which involves waving arms and simply rotating each bent leg in turn, without physical contact between the dancers, is obscene and the dance is not a good idea. very "uncultured"because it involves rhythmic hip movements. Even stranger, the American Medical Association has even issued a statement stating that dancing is not a fun and easy cardio exercise, but a health risk and can lead to joint damage!
Soviet wrestling with a twist
Things were no better (or perhaps worse) in the USSRwhere the popularity of the twist also began to spread in the 1960s. Himself Nikita Khrushchev fought against the overwhelming popularity of the "bourgeois" twist, comparing it to the dances of the "sect of shakers" (yes, such a succinct characterisation). Within the Iron Curtain, the twist was labelled "decadent convulsions", but such comments did nothing to diminish the popular love of the twist, which was eagerly fostered by Soviet idols - including the composer Yuri Saulskywho gave the public "Black Cat.".
Although the song received a fervent response, many of Saulsky's colleagues called it a crazy! "You're a serious adult ! Who the hell is Black Cat?! How did you manage to write such a thing?" - Such remarks fell on the composer from all sides. But Yuri Sergeyevich tried not to pay attention to them: he himself liked this creation very much.
Things were no better with the Arno Babajanyan's "The Best City on Earth."which was removed from the radio airwaves at Khrushchev's personal request. In general, Nikita Sergeyevich was an ardent hater of the twist, and fought this Western trend as much as he could. But all in vain...
And yet cultural heritage
When Khrushchev was removed from power, the popularity of the twist returned. Although it's more accurate to say that it was now undisguisedas it used to be, but open. All Soviet dance floors were literally swept by the wave of twist: people were dancing and having fun, and one of the brightest symbols of this "epidemic" was the "twist". "Beauty Queen." performed by Muslim Magomayev.
The twist has not bypassed the domestic cinema: especially this fashionable trend can be traced in the film "Twist". "The Caucasian Captive."when Byvaly teaches provincial Caucasian youth the basics of the twist, proudly proclaiming:
"It's not a lezginka, it's a twist!"
At about the same time, the twist was also "got behind" in the West - the very Ed Sullivan praised the dance, saying it had brought widespread benefits:
"Across the country, many nightclubs that were on the verge of bankruptcy were revitalised thanks to the twist. It put a lot of performers, bands, waiters and actors to work, and brought a new impetus to television..."
There's definitely something in what he's saying logic. How do you feel about this dance? Share your opinion in the comments!