Do the Blame | Year In Review | Chicago Reader

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Do the Blame

1991's Hottest Dance Craze


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The first bona fide dance craze of the 90s has finally arrived--a dance so hot and subtle it's already gone from the clubs to the workplace. It's called The Blame and everybody's doing it:

Put your worst foot forward.

Drag your best foot back.

Point your finger at your partner

As you circle to attack.

Keep your hips down low.

Stick your nose up in the air.

Jockey for position.

You can do it anywhere.

The moves are simple and leave plenty of room for dancers to create their own unique styles. Variations are already popping up everywhere. The B.C.C.I. Shuffle, a slower, more indirect version of The Blame, is catching on well in Washington, and The Quota, though not a sensation yet in D.C., shows signs of life in other areas, particularly in the south.

College students are adapting The Blame to meet their own multicultural needs. They're doing The Hate, The Whine, and the increasingly popular Shame. You can dance to it and still work toward that law degree.

As The Blame spreads rapidly into the mainstream, quite a number of interpretations are emerging throughout middle America. The Layoff has been popular from cocktail lounges to roadhouses to the hallowed office suites at I.B.M. Before long, slow-learning schoolchildren from coast to coast will be Blaming away to the heavy metal Bossa Nova beat of The Lead Poison, and drug-addled teens will be slamming to The Latch Key in shopping malls and bowling alleys. Seniors, left to their own devices, will soon be waltzing along to The Fixed Income as they scavenge for scrap aluminum.

A few years ago The Lambada was heralded as the dance of the coming decade, but nobody could do it then and it seems too much like unsafe sex now. Disco came and went because nobody could stand it. The Blame, however, is here to stay for one good reason--it's democratic.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/P.S. Mueller.

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