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Top 10 Signature Dance Moves

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script by Tanina Drvar. They twisted, twirled, and twerked their way into our memories. For this list, we’re looking at a mix of moves that are attributed to a performer and those that a performer helped make famous. They don’t have to necessarily be the creators or originators, but they at least helped popularize them in the mainstream and/or are heavily associated with them. If you didn’t see a move or dance you think should be on the list, be sure to check out our videos of the Top 10 Signature Rock Moves and the Top 10 Dance Crazes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 signature dance moves. Special thanks to our users erick palacios, Moises Castillo, Tom Cruz, DanMan and Paola Garcia for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script by Tanina Drvar.

They twisted, twirled, and twerked their way into our memories. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 signature dance moves.

For this list, we’re looking at a mix of moves that are attributed to a performer and those that a performer helped make famous. They don’t have to necessarily be the creators or originators, but they at least helped popularize them in the mainstream and/or are heavily associated with them. If you didn’t see a move or dance you think should be on the list, be sure to check out our videos of the Top 10 Signature Rock Moves and the Top 10 Dance Crazes.

#10: Dougie
Cali Swag District

Inspired by the moves of ‘80s rapper Doug E. Fresh, the Dougie is a hip-hop dance from Dallas, Texas. While hip hop group Cali Swag District didn’t invent this shimmy style dance, the video for their single, “Teach Me How to Dougie” quickly went viral, and soon everyone from pro-athletes to First Lady Michelle Obama was busting out their versions of the moves. When Cali Swag District’s M-Bone was gunned down in a drive-by, mourners at his funeral, including his grandmother, danced the Dougie in tribute to the late rapper. Now that is what we call a signature move!

#9: Cat Daddy
Kate Upton

Created by The Rej3ctz, the Cat Daddy is a hip-hop dance that first reached the masses when Chris Brown performed the dance in the music video for the group’s single of the same name. But it wasn’t until an itsy-bitsy-bikini-clad Kate Upton performed the Cat Daddy on YouTube that the dance went viral. With over 1 million views in the first 24 hours, Upton’s Cat Daddy became the talk of the town. YouTube even banned the video claiming it violated their nudity policies, but later re-instated it. While Brown’s version is far superior in terms of actual dance ability, Upton’s version remains the more popular of the two. No surprises there!

#8: J-Setting
Beyoncé

You may not know this dance by name, but you definitely know the moves. Back in 2008, it was hard to go anywhere without hearing Beyoncé’s girl-power anthem “Single Ladies.” If the popularity of the song wasn’t enough – #1 on the U.S. Billboard chart, and certified quadruple platinum – her accompanying moves, inspired by what’s known as J-Setting choreography, became just as famous. Clad in a sexy unitard and high heels, and accompanied by two equally sexy backup dancers, Mrs. Jay-Z busts out some seriously fierce moves. The “put a ring on it” and “pump walk” moves are among the most famous and were hilariously emulated by Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg in an SNL sketch.

#7: Y.M.C.A
Village People

For us rhythm-challenged folk, dancing doesn’t get much better than doing the “Y.M.C.A.” Danced to the Village People song of the same name, the Y.M.C.A is one of the easiest coordinated movements to get up and boogie to. But the dance wasn’t part of the routine from the get-go. It was actually first danced by audience members on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” during the disco group’s performance. More than thirty years after its release, the Y.M.C.A. is still a popular feature at sporting events, parties, and weddings.

#6: Twerking
Miley Cyrus & Big Freedia

This sexy hip-hop dance involves a whole lot of booty shaking. While the dance has been around since the 1990s, appearing mostly in bounce and southern hip-hop music videos, it wasn’t until a viral video of Miley Cyrus twerking and then her infamous twerk-gate at the 2013 VMAs with Robin Thicke that it became all the rage in mainstream culture. But Miley isn’t the only one with twerking cred. Queen of Bounce, Big Freedia, gave the former Hannah Montana a run for her money by setting the Guinness World Record for twerking in NYC. Now that’s some “record breaking booty shaking!”

#5: The Twist
Chubby Checker

When Chubby Checker covered Hank Ballard and the Midnighters song “The Twist”, he had no idea what a huge phenomenon it would become. After his performance on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand,” the Twist became a national sensation and it seemed like people were moving their hips, torso and legs together on every dance floor across America. At the time, critics thought the dance was too provocative, but that didn’t stop the craze from spreading to Europe, where every teenager was soon twisting the night away.

#4: James Brown’s Cape Routine
James Brown

Not many performers are more energetic than the Godfather of Soul was. Known for his stage antics, James Brown’s moves have inspired generations of performers, including the late great Michael Jackson. He became known for his pirouettes, splits, and incredible footwork, but his most popular move was being helped off the stage, appearing as though he was about to faint from exhaustion, only to throw off his cape and race back to the microphone. His crazy fast footwork paired with his signature “Good Gawds” are the stuff legends are made of!

#3: Gangnam Style
Psy

When K-pop sensation Psy exploded onto the North American music scene, no one could fathom just how popular his single “Gangnam Style” would become. Its accompanying music video became the most watched YouTube video ever and clocked in at over 2 billion views less than 2 years after its premiere. The song’s catchy beat and the video’s hilarious dancing took the world by storm and it seemed like Psy’s signature moves—“riding the horse” and “lassoing in the sexy lady”—were being danced by just about everyone. Even President Obama admitted to dancing Gangnam Style around the White House, to the embarrassment of his daughters.

#2: Moonwalk
Michael Jackson

Entertaining audiences since his Jackson 5 days, the King of Pop always had the moves, the outfits, and the talent. By the time he embarked on his solo career, he’d perfected a series of moves for which he would forever be remembered. Though he didn’t create the move, he first introduced it to the world on Motown’s 25th Anniversary Special during his performance of “Billie Jean.” And the moonwalk was Michael Jackson’s signature and most famous move ever since. But no MJ tribute could be complete without also mentioning the much-parodied crotch-grab and kick, accompanied by his high-pitched “hee-hees”!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Hammer Dance
MC Hammer
- Lean Back
Terror Squad feat. Fat Joe & Remy
- Melbourne Shuffle
LMFAO
- Rooster Strut and More
Mick Jagger
- Duck Walk
Chuck Berry and Angus Young

#1: Pelvic Thrust & Hip Gyrations
Elvis Presley

It’s not surprising that Mr. Presley would top our list. His signature hip wiggles and thrusts sent a generation of screaming girls into hysterics, and even threatened to land him in the slammer. Deemed offensive and vulgar by the more puritanical portion of American society, Elvis’ moves and style were the exact opposite of what every other teen idol had been to date. Rebellious and sexy, these scandalous moves helped this truck driver from Memphis become the King of everything rock n’ roll!

Do you agree with our list? What are your favorite signature dance moves? For more toe-tapping, finger-snapping Top 10s published daily, be sure to join WatchMojo.com.
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