9 Weird Dance Crazes From '90s TV Shows

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Nothing says the '90s like a cheesy dance craze. These dances will bring back some memories—feel free to dance along.

1. "The Bartman" from The Simpsons

From the album The Simpsons Sing the Blues, “Do The Bartman” and its accompanying dance was an international hit in 1990. Incredibly, Michael Jackson actually co-wrote the song with record producer Bryan Loren. Jackson was a die-hard fan of The Simpsons and Bart, but didn’t receive credit for the song because he was under contract with a competing record label. Although it wasn’t officially released as a single in the United States, “Do The Bartman” was a chart-topping hit in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Pixar director Brad Bird directed the music video for “Do The Bartman,” which received a nomination during the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards.

2. "The Sprain" from Saved By The Bell

In the episode “Dancing to the Max,” the kids at Bayside High School prepare for a dance competition. Lisa Turtle hurts her ankle, but she joins forces with Samuel “Screech” Powers, battles through the pain, and wins the competition with a new dance called "The Sprain."

3. "The Carlton" from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

"The Carlton" became a staple of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when it was introduced in the sitcom’s third season. Alfonso Ribeiro combined Courteney Cox’s dance from Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” music video, Eddie Murphy’s “white man dance,” and the Tom Jones hit “It’s Not Unusual” to create this wildly popular dance that still can bring the house down.

4. "The Routine" from Friends

In the episode “The One with the Routine,” Ross and Monica re-create a dance from their childhood to get on TV during a New Year’s Eve broadcast.

5. "The Urkel" from Family Matters

In 1991, everyone's favorite wacky neighbor introduced "The Urkel" during season two of Family Matters. Like "The Bartman," this dance craze was so popular it inspired T-shirts and a hit single.

"The Urkel" even crossed over to fellow ABC sitcom Step by Step in the episode “The Dance” later that year. Urkel makes a cameo appearance as Al’s (Christine Lakin) date to a middle school dance.

6. "The Elaine" from Seinfeld

“Sweet Fancy Moses!” This dance was introduced in the season eight episode “The Little Kicks” when Elaine Benes tries to get the party started at an office function. It combines a series of pointed thumbs, little kicks, and body convulsions that has become a go-to dance for the rhythmless.

7. "The Alley Cat" from Mad About You

In the episode “The Wedding Affair” from Mad About You's first season, Paul and Jamie try to liven up a wedding reception with "The Alley Cat" line dance.

8. "Dancing Baby" from Ally McBeal

The Dancing Baby was one of the Internet's first memes. It was launched in 1996 and gained widespread attention when it appeared on Ally McBeal a few years later in 1998. Featured in the episode “Cro-Magnon,” Ally McBeal starts fantasizing about a baby dancing around her apartment to the song “Hooked on a Feeling.”

9. "Apache (Jump On It)" from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

In addition to "The Carlton," Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro created the "Jump On It" dance when they were goofing around on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The dance was introduced during the sitcom’s sixth season and eventually became a way for Smith and Ribeiro to warm up before shooting a new episode.

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May 7, 2014 - 11:00am
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