Good evening, gentlemen,

I'm not very good at following Internet memes (which is probably a good thing), but after the initial Harlem Shake craze died down, I finally decided to find out what the hype was all about.  So I got on YouTube and found way too many Harlem Shake videos of people acting like total idiots for the world to see, and then learned that these videos had absolutely nothing to do with the real Harlem Shake dance of 1981!  Color me disgusted!  Has humanity really sunk so low???

The real dance from 1981 was pretty cool to watch, and I realized a dormant goal I want to achieve...learn to dance.  The only dance I ever learned was the Macarena when I was 14, and I have managed to fake it with some girls in college although I didn't know any formal ballroom styles.  Now I'm looking to expand my skills, mainly just to have some fun while at least reducing, if not eliminating, the feeling of self-consciousness that often comes with dancing in public.

The first dance I'm trying out right now is the Cotton-Eye Joe.  Although I normally hate country music, this one seems fun to do.  Actually, I found two very different dance sequences I like.

What dances do you believe every man should know?  No dry-humping or grinding, please. Of course, we're striving to be gentlemen, so that probably went without saying.  What styles do you do?  Line-dancing, ballroom, freestyle, lay it all out.  Also, what to avoid at all costs?  Also, some low/no cost, reliable resources for learning without having to shell out big bucks for a school.  I found that many dances on YouTube have multiple versions with commenters screaming at each other "You're doing it all wrong!"

And Brett, if you're reading this, I'd like to see an article on the main site for those of us with two left feet ;-)

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Hustle, swing, and some variation of the box step.

Ideally, a man should know many dances. However, ado we necessarily have the opportunity to dance them any longer? When's the last time you heard a cha-cha or a foxtrot at a wedding? I think we're best off learning the waltz and maybe a quick-step. But there's also a lot that's culture/area dependent. Just ask, what sort of social or court dances have you seen in your area (excluding, of course, those that are merely fads), and learn them.

I learned to square dance in elementary school. 

I know the Gay Gordon and various English country dances but need more waltz practice. 

The Virginia Reel is an awesome line dance. Two stepping is pretty nice...a little to 'romantic' for my liking. Haha! The grapevine is amazing you do it in lots of dances.

My wife and I started learning formal dances a couple of years ago, and now regularly (2-3 times/month) go to dances here in the Boston area. If you have the chance to go to ballroom dances two styles you should learn are Foxtrot and Waltz. Almost every dance we've attended has a Mixer, which is either Foxtrot or Waltz, where there will be 10-12 minutes of continuous music. The ladies line up along a wall, and each gent picks up the lady at the head of the line and makes a turn around the room, then drops the lady off at the end of the line and picks up the next lady. You get to dance with 6-7 ladies this way, and it's great practice.
Most of the "ballroom" dances we've been to also include some swing numbers, hustle, and Latin dances.
If you're dancing at clubs, swing (east coast or west coast), hustle (disco), cha-cha, and some form of nightclub are good bets.
If country is the style of music you'll be dancing to then two-step, west coast swing and east coast swing and polka will serve. Line dances are also popular in country venues.
Latin clubs will have you dancing salsa, merengue and bachata.

Best bet is to figure out what type of venues are available for dancing in your area, and learn the dances you'll be need for those. has some great video lessons. We've also supplemented in person teaching with DVDs from

My dad taught me two dances; The Two-Step, and the Square-Step. Everything else I have figured out off of those bases.



Well two I think you should know are east coast and west coast swing. But to add one more the ChA-CHA, can dance that to most music.

Let me give you a one liner you can kinda use as a guide or measuring tool.
If you're dancing looks like screwing, you suck at both.

Paul does this help? Have you been waiting for 3 years?

"The Q Tip" thanks I'll use that one...


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