"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of the opportunity provided to serve self-interest when Al Gore created the internet; and we should also thank Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Dorsey for creating Facebook and Twitter out of the kindness of their big hearts and not the thinness of their small wallets."
-Ben Franklin, Autobiography (1742)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

John Adams on the Origin of the Dougie

On a tragic note this week, rapper M-Bone of Cali Swag District was killed in a drive-by shooting. As fans of the group, our hearts go out to the family and friends. Cali Swag District is best known for their wildly successful hit "Teach Me How to Dougie" in which they popularized a dance based on an original number attributed to John Adams back in 1798. In effort to both pay tribute to the departed artist and maintain the overall message of this blog, we thought it fitting to provide some backstory to the origins of the Dougie as well as several other popular trends in dancing throughout the years.

The year was 1800. John Adams was in the middle of his term as the 2nd president of the new United States, and the burgeoning nation was in an uproar over the newest dance craze: The Johnny A. Yes, that you read that right, our 2nd president was a highly spirited dancer. The fascinating note however is that descriptions of the Johnny A indicate so many similarities to the Dougie dance that historians believe the Adams' version to have slowly changed over the years as it waned and then resurged in popularity, ultimately becoming a hip-hop sensation in 2011. Originally, "Johnny A" himself was known to perform his version at parties, congressional meetings, public addresses, and even once while posing for a portrait that we have reprinted below.

Of further interest is the fact that the Dougie is actually far from being the only popular number originated in some fashion by John "the dancing fiend" Adams. Others in the numerous list include:

The Electric Slide
The Macarena
The Stanky Leg
The Chicken Noodle Soup
The Chicken Dance
The Hokey Pokey
The Crip Walk
The Cupid Shuffle
The Puppet Master & His Marionette
The NSync "Bye Bye Bye" dance
The "Walk it Out"
The Train Dance

So next time you find yourself "out on the floor," remember to pour one out for the original homie, John Adams (1735 - 1826).

"Bring it back to the front then shake it off like this." - John Adams, "How to Johnny A," 1801.

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