Well and why wouldn’t she? Everyone was doing it — from the First Lady to a little 6 year old girl in Ashland, Kentucky (yes yours truly). The Twist was more than just another dance craze — the 50s had been full of those. It wasn’t pure novelty like The Macarena or Gangnam Style. The Twist was the communal exuberance of a new dawn, a rare burst of optimism, fun, and freedom. The first popular dance that didn’t require partners to touch but to move separately and synchronous. And perhaps most important of all — no one had to lead, the dancers were equal. The Twist was the unofficial dance of America’s Camelot, at least when Jackie was dropping the needle on the turntable at the White House.
Did you happen to catch the Mad Men episode, season 1, when the whole Sterling Cooper office heads over to their fave watering hole and Peggy puts a dime in the jukebox and plays “The Twist” by Chubby Checker? The whole room explodes in excitement and they hit the dance floor and put on their twist moves. A flawless scene. Because that excitement was the early 1960s as I remember it as a kid, watching my mother and her sister – 2 young beautiful divorcees who worked in an office not unlike Peggy, practicing their twist moves before a double date and teaching us kids how to do it too. Everyone loved the twist, and if you didn’t, you were probably no damned good, and certainly no fun. And in this Mad Men scene, that was Pete of course, who rejects Peggy’s open invitation to twist with her. It kills me every time I think of it. But hey — didn’t stop Peggy from twisting, even with tears in her eyes and a bruise on her heart.