You’ve seen them at the bar: those rhythm-less dancers flailing around the floor. You’ve seen awkward one-sided couples and those who clearly learned their moves from watching too many 1980s movies and Saved by the Bell reruns. You’ve been assaulted by the aggressive thrusters and elbowed more times than you can count. And if you haven’t, consider the fact that maybe you’re the problem. Here, the worst dance moves you’ll see at the bar.
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The Extreme Twerk
Unless you’re Miley Cyrus (in which case, hi there, big fans, thanks for reading Supercall and for “Party in the U.S.A.”), you need to keep your feet off the wall and your butt at a reasonable bounce rate. No one wants to see someone throw out a hip while getting their freak on.
Something went wrong with the Delorean, Marty. If my calculations are correct, based on that guy’s dance moves, we’re still in 1985. The Robot passed out of ironically funny territory a long time ago and now exists only as an echo of an echo.
The Body Roll
Even if you have the abdominal strength to pull this one off correctly, the corner dive on a Wednesday night is not the place to show it off. And if you don’t have the abs for it, the move looks more like an upturned inchworm retching in the middle of the dance floor—not an attractive sight.
The Carlton Dance
Even the unshameable Carlton knew to only whip out his trademark dance move when no one was looking. Some moves are best enjoyed in the secret comfort of one’s own home. Not only is The Carlton a pretty dated reference at this point, but all that arm swinging is a concussion risk for any nearby dancers. Keep your legs and arms inside the vehicle at all times.
When we watch someone moonwalk about the dance floor with reckless abandon for others behind them (or Michael Jackson’s memory), we can only hope they trip backwards over a low-lying object. The bar is not a one-dancer stage, nor is it Neverland, nor is it the moon or any other planet where The Moonwalk is a hot new thing and not the most hackneyed cliche in the rhythmic world.
The Arm Dancer
Dancing is a full-body activity. There’s no acceptable middle ground in which one part of the body moves and the rest gets a pass. Some weary dancers may think keeping their feet on the ground will help them avoid any embarrassing tumbles, but the opposite is true: All eyes will immediately turn to the immobile “dancer.” These arm-emphatic dancers need to drop the dead weight around their ankles and move a little.
The Car Dealership Balloon
A true artist like Dee from Always Sunny takes inspiration wherever she can find it, including the inflatable balloon dancers that dot car dealership lots. But the human body has bones and joints designed to move in certain ways. Everyone might be momentarily impressed that you look like a limp noodle magically animated, but soon enough any sort of wobbly, wiggly dancing becomes disconcerting and probably reason enough to cut you off.
When “Kung Fu Fighting” comes on, a certain crowd takes it as a sign to break out the yellow belt fight moves. These people don’t know how to dance, and they definitely don’t know how to throw those punches without accidentally nailing someone in the eye. It’s probably best if all onlookers immediately clear the area and wait until the shouts of “hi-yah” die down naturally.
The Cultural Appropriation
Apparently this energetic dancer learned a lot in that one salsa class he took in Puerto Rico last week, but trilled R’s and a few flourishes of the ankle do not a legit cultural heritage make. If you’ve taken the time to learn the dance and traditions of another people, then great; go ahead and show off a little when the salsa music starts blaring. But don’t go attempting to belly dance or hopak if you have no basis for doing so.