The bunny hop dance has been around for three-quarter a century. It was most popular during the Big Band era in the 50s, but you’ll still find lines of people bunny hopping at parties everywhere today.
Though it may look simple and, admittedly, a bit silly, the bunny hop dance has a very interesting history. Interested? This article has everything you should know about this superb dance party move!
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Who Created The Bunny Hop Dance?
The bunny hop dance wasn’t invented by an individual. Rather, it’s an invention of the whole student body at the Balboa High School in San Francisco. The students first thought up the dance in the spring of 1952.
According to one source, when Ray Anthony – a famous bandleader – saw this dance, he wrote a song to go with it. That song, also called “Bunny Hop”, wrote this novelty dance into the history book.
How To Do The Bunny Hop Dance?
At dance parties, people usually bunny hop to the original song by Ray Anthony. So, give it a listen first and learn the tune. The benefits are two-fold.
First, to learn the dance, you must also learn the music. And second, you’ll need to realize exactly when the DJ changes the music to the bunny hop. That’s the signal to rush onto the dance floor and get in the dance line!
Form the Conga Line
The bunny hop dance is a party dance that requires a lot of people to do. If you have some friends that you can call over to practice with you, do so! But if you don’t, it’s totally fine. You can practice the motion instead.
When the music starts, the participants in the bunny hop will form into a long dance line. Hold the hips of the person in front of you with your hands, and the person behind you will do the same with you.
The basic bunny hop dance move is that the whole line will jump back and forth, holding onto one another’s hips. Imagine a fluffle hopping around!
Everyone has to hop to the rhythm of the person at the front of the line, which is the “leader.”
For beginners, we highly recommend you to ask if the person in front of you is experienced with the dance or not. If they are, follow their rhythm. If they are just as new as you, you have two options: either go with it, or you can switch places behind someone who knows the dance better.
And if children are participating in the dance (the bunny hop dance is very popular for kids,) make sure that adults are spread evenly through the dance line. They will maintain the rhythm for the children and keep them safe.
Kick Out Your Right Foot
As the song plays and the lyrics ring out, kick your right foot to the side, with your heel to the ground. Then, bring your right foot back in.
Repeat the motion for the next beat. Kick out your right foot with your heel against the ground, then retract your foot back in.
Kick Your Left Foot
Next, reverse the motion above. Kick out your left foot with your heel to the ground. Then bring it back in. Repeat the motion for a second time.
After you’ve done the left kick two times, put your feet together and hop forward once. Then, make a hop backward. And lastly, hop forward with your feet together three times to finish the dance cycle.
Repeat the hopping motion until the music stops. As expected, this step is why the dance is dubbed the “Bunny Hop dance”!
People will hop with you, so if you don’t know the rhythm, follow them as best as you can.
What To Wear For Bunny Hop?
There’s zero rule about clothing for the bunny hop. It is not very vigorous, so you can wear anything to dance and practice it. You can take part in a bunny hop line wearing suits and fancy dresses (it’s a popular wedding party dance.) Or, you can wear your sweatshirts and jeans to dance, if it’s being done at a house party.
Bunny Hop Music & Songs
The most popular song for people to dance the bunny hop to is the song of the same name by Ray Anthony. The song was first released in 1952 and became an instant hit, popularizing the bunny hop dance throughout the country.
In the late 1950s, the song was re-recorded into various styles, including a salsa version. There’s a mambo version of the Bunny Hop song by Duke Ellington in 1954.
But there are other types of music that you can also choose to dance to. Most were released in the 50s, such as “The Glow-Worm.”
The bunny hop dance isn’t only popular in the US, though. There is a Finnish dance with very similar steps to the bunny hop in Finland, called Letkajenkka. It is danced to Finnish dance songs like Letkajenkka (which inspired the name of the dance) and Letkis.
In Saudi Arabia, a very similar dance called “rasqat al-batriq” or the “Penguin Dance” rose to prominence in 2014 and went viral on Saudi Arabian online websites.
These days, it’s a staple dance at wedding parties in the country. And, of course, the music that people perform this dance to is very different from their American counterpart.
Bunny Hop Nowadays
The bunny hop has grown from a novelty dance to a popular dance. Like many other vintage dances, it has experienced a resurgence in recent years thanks to the power of the Internet and apps like TikTok and Instagram. Some famous Tiktok dancers post videos of them doing it and re-introducing it to younger audiences worldwide!
@iam_jamiek #bunnyhopchallenge #linedance #shuffledancechallenge #everydayimshuffling #makeabunchhappen #family ♬ Bunny Hop – Da Entourage
But the bunny hop dance isn’t just found on viral video-sharing sites. Many TV shows and movies over the years have referenced it.
For example, in the popular show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, you will see the character Carlton doing it during one episode. Or in the Addams Family Musical, the entire Addams family was bunny hopping with their long-dead ancestors after they had risen from the graves.
But the most popular way to “discover” the bunny hop dance is at house parties or weddings. Even after a long time, people are still bunny hopping at parties. And we don’t blame them. There aren’t many other dances that involve so many people and are so simple yet so fun at the same time.
Children can join in the dance, too. So, the bunny hop dance enjoys almost universal appeal, young and old alike. It’s the biggest reason this novelty dance is still around today!
The bunny hop dance is a fun way to liven up a party. Since it’s so simple to learn, follow the tutorial above and give it a shot right now! Who knows, maybe one day you’ll hear the tune of the bunny hop dance while you’re hanging about at a party. And after practicing, you can hop right in and have fun with your friends rather than dawdle around and miss out on all the good fun!