Australia’s Nutbush craze

Australia has had a love affair with Tina Turner not just because of her star turn as “Aunty Entity” in 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome or her stint as the face of Australia’s rugby league. Australians of all ages have also been performing a line dance called the “Nutbush” at weddings and social events to the music of Turner’s hit single “Nutbush City Limits.” When Tina died, there was a flood of viral TikTok videos of people performing the Nutbush in her honor—including members of the US Embassy in Canberra. Dancers at the 2023 Mundi Mundi Bash in a remote corner of New South Wales set a world record with 6,594 dancers performing the Nutbush at the same time. For 50 years, Australian primary school students have been learning the steps to a dance that will carry them through social events and weddings and allow them to locate other Australians across crowded nightclubs anywhere in the world. Nowhere else do people do the Nutbush while almost every Australian knows the steps. The exact origin of the dance remains unknown, but researchers at the University of South Australia think: “What we seem to know is that there was a committee in the New South Wales education department that devised the idea of the Nutbush (dance),” co-author Jon Stratton told the Guardian.

One likely explanation was the spread and development of the dance now known as the Nutbush during this same time period, initially as an educational activity in Australian primary schools. Dancing has been incorporated into education since the 1920s. “Line dances work very well in classrooms because the teacher can stand at the front and give instructions to the lines.  The idea must have been to provide students with an enjoyable way of exercising and learning coordination. Whoever designed the Nutbush succeeded beyond any success they could have hoped for. What makes it special is that it’s moved out of schools to become the dance of choice at many Australian social events. It’s intergenerational – parents, grandparents and children all learn the Nutbush.

It’s unique to Australia, but the Nutbush shares some similarities with the Madison another popular line dance that emerged in the 1950s thanks to teen dance shows like American Bandstand and The Buddy Deane Show.  In 1978 when the New South Wales Department of Education launched primary school teacher retraining initiatives, they recommended these dance moves for gym class initially for a Sydney school district and it spread to other regions from there. Regardless of how the fad took hold, hearing the song’s opening bars and the lines “A church house, gin house” will likely keep bringing Aussies enthusiastically to the dance floor for years to come.

Dance the Line:

Today, I saw a cop dancing while ticketing a U-Haul truck.
I think he was trying to bust a move.

You go to the ballet and you see girls dancing on their tiptoes.
Why don’t they just get taller girls?

Why are Democrat robots so bad at dancing?
They were built with bad Al-Gore-rhythms.

I went to the pub last night and saw a fat chick dancing on a table.
I said, “Nice legs.”
The girl giggled and said with a smile, “Do you really think so.”
I said “Definitely! Most tables would have collapsed by now.”

July 1st Birthdays

1961 – Princess Diana,  1978 – Liv Tylor, 1983 – Hilary Burton,  1990 – Hanna Murray

1952 – Dan Akroyd, 1963 – Andre Braugher, 1934 – Jamie Farr,  1961 – Carl Lewis

Morning Motivator: