The Hokey Pokey

Please see the "Chicken Dance" as well ...

Posting from Craig LaPresto

Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 17:50:58 -0400
From: Craig LaPresto <presto@kymtnnet.org>

[...] a silly dance in America called the
"Hokey Pokey"? It is danced at many weddings, is well known, but I don't
know how old the song is.

The (large) group forms a circle and follows the silly 
instructions to the song:
       "You put your right hand in,
	You take your right hand out,
	You put your right hand in
	And you shake it all about.
	You do the Hokey Pokey
	And you turn yourself around.
	That's what it's all about."

This now continues with left hand, right leg, left leg, whole self. The 
dance is easy enough for everyone including young children. In the USA 
the word "hokey" can mean stupidly simple- lie we get the word 
"provincial" from the Parisians' distain for country folk. However, I 
don't know if the word predates the song or vice versa.

Mail from Patrick D. McMonagle

To: Roland Bauer <roland.bauer@bigfoot.com>
Subject: the Hokey Pokey choreographer
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 97 13:20:47 -0500
From: "Patrick D. McMonagle" <ocw@isomedia.com>


Recently I met somone who was at the funeral of the man who choreographed
the Hokey Pokey.  The funeral was well attended and lasted a long time, live
music was playing.  The funeral took so long because they did not just lay
him to rest in the earth.  No: they had to: Put his left foot in.  Take his
left foot out.  Put.....  Shake.... :-(

The Hokey Pokey, is I more seriously believe, not a dance at all but a "Play
Party Game".  The distinction; as a game certain religous fundamentalists
could play it.  They were forbidden to dance.  That category dates its
American popularity to the 1930s, at latest, when the need for the
distinction expired.  When alcolhol prohibition was repealed in the USA,
1932, a lot of religious supported local laws that prohibited record
companies from selling sinful dance music went with it.  The Hokey Pokey is
certainly older than the 30s.  I would not care to guess on its ancestry.

The rumor in Seattle, about the Chicken dance, is that it originated in Peru
.  The rumor probably belongs in the same file as the funeral story.


See also