I'm a bit confused by the video clip on the Shimmy. There seem to be two separate dances going on here:
-- the "shimmy" movement (super-fast hip rotations moving in the opposite direction from the shoulder rotation); Was the twist a reincarnation of this? If so, the twist was decidedly slower (more mechanical, actually) in its early years.
-- almost unconnected was the "cheek to cheek" aspect, with bodies bouncing stiffly up and down. Kids in the 50s quickly picked up on cheek to cheek, but seem to have given the stiff bouncing a pass.
My personal favorite of the social dances we learned in dance class was the tango. There was real passion, but the potential for wildness was contained (for the man) by a rather stiff formality and the challenge of remaining in control. It was quite difficult to find a good, responsive, pliant, trusting partner of high school age. I think the version we learned as kids had very little to do with the low dives and milongas where the dance originated, but it always had the potential of getting out of control..
: does anyone do the foxtrot anymore? I recall it as stiff and dull, but a safe choice for those who could not learn steps easily.