The song is by Tina, the steps are Australian: what is ‘Nutbush’? – New York Times International Weekly – International

The song is by Tina, the steps are Australian: what is ‘Nutbush’? – New York Times International Weekly – International
The song is by Tina, the steps are Australian: what is ‘Nutbush’? – New York Times International Weekly – International

SYDNEY, Australia — When news of Tina Turner’s death reached Australian shores, people across the country stopped what they were doing and started dancing.

Students, people in gyms, TikTokers and even US Embassy staff paid tribute with steps and kicks that looked like a mix of line dancing and the Macarena, to the rhythm of Turner’s song “Nutbush City Limits.”

She did not perform these steps. But somehow, and no one is quite sure how, the dance, the Nutbush, has become so widespread in Australia that it is sometimes called the Country’s unofficial national dance.

“You hear the duh-duh, duh-duh, and your feet start moving and the steps come,” said Skye Clarke, a teacher in the state of Victoria who led a dance for her students. “You may not have danced it in over 10 years, but it almost instantly comes back to you.”

When the song comes on, whether at a bar, a backyard barbecue, a birthday party, or a wedding, standing still is not an option.

“It would be rude not to participate,” said Jess Bowman, another teacher who helped organize a presentation at her school in New South Wales. “You start dancing, otherwise someone will pull you to the dance floor.”

The origins of the dance are a mystery. Some experts say it resembles the Madison, a line dance from the ’50s and ’60s, or ’70s disco dances like Car Wash and the Hustle. A common theory is that school teachers spread the dance by teaching it to their students as an exercise routine, although there are no records of it being formally required in classrooms.

Part of its longevity lies in being a relatively simple dance that people of all ages can perform, said Michael Whaites, a contemporary dance teacher at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. He remembers dancing the Nutbush for the first time in brown flared corduroy pants at a school disco in 1979. “Two people or 200 people can dance it. And don’t we have the world record?,” he said.

In fact, Australia holds the world record for the most people dancing the Nutbush—although no other country is known to have wanted to compete for the crown. Last year, 4,084 attendees danced the Nutbush at the Birdsville Big Red Bash, a country music festival, wearing tutus, dinosaur costumes and wigs.

Festivalgoers will try to break the record again in July, said Laura Impey, one of the organizers of the event, which will also be a milestone for the hit song.

“We think it will be pretty special to do this Nutbush attempt on the 50th anniversary of the song’s release,” he said. “And it will be an even bigger and more special tribute to Tina Turner in general.”

Turner’s ties to Australia extend beyond popular dance. Her long-time manager, Roger Davies, was from Melbourne and he was the one who fueled her return to stardom in the 1980s. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she became the face of the competition. rugby league in Australia when he sang his songs “What You Get Is What You See” and “The Best” in sports commercials.


BBC-NEWS-SRC:, IMPORTING DATE: 2023-06-02 16:10:09

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