The Bump is an easy disco couple dance that consists of the partners bumping various parts of their bodies together, e.g., their hips (14), shoulders (9), derrieres (6), knees (5), elbows (4), hands (4), backs (3), arms (2), legs (2), pelvises (2), chest (1), head (1), feet (1), or any combination thereof. (Body parts are listed by popularity of mention in the primary sources. The numbers in parentheses following each body part is the number of sources it is mentioned in.)
Where there are two options, you can bump your right to your partner's left, or your right to your partner's right. The same bump can repeat, you can alternate bumps (bump left hips, then bump right hips), or you can bump at random.
As described by Rolling Stone, "there are no steps: the feet are comfortably separated and pretty stationary, except when you need to move them to turn or keep your balance. The knees should be bent, the parts of the body not bumping should swing in the opposite direction from the part that's bumping, the whole body should be loose as a goose" [JW75]. Rosemary "Red" Hallum adds: "Literally 'anything goes.' Great body styling with all sorts of head, shoulder, arm, torso, hip, and foot movements can be used" [RH76].
- Off Beat Bump: Bump together on the off beat (the 2s and 4s) and swing away from partner on the beat (the 1s and 3s) [RH76, AC78, FA78, AM79, AK79, GL79, ER79].
- On Beat Bump: Bump together on the beat (the 1s and 3s) and swing away from partner on the off beat (the 2s and 4s) [DB74, PT78, JW75, HF76, AP76, LW78].
- Going Down: Sink lower and lower over the course of two bumps, then rise back up on the next two [GL79]. Bumping low is also mentioned as a possibility by several other sources [JW75, AP76, AC78].
- Up and Down: Sink down on the bump and away (the counts), and rise up as you pass through neutral (the "and"s) [AC78].
- Circling: Move the body in smooth circles between bumps, rather than just bumping side to side [AC78].
- : While most sources don't provide any specific footwork, Rosemary "Red" Hallum does provide a few variations:
- Jump: On the non-bumping beat, "a very small jump close to the floor, or a slight lift of body weight, with heels coming up but balls of feet remaining in contact with the floor" [RH76, FA78].
- "And One": On the non-bumping beat, two quick steps in place on the count and the and before it, e.g., step "and-1" then bump on 2 [RH76].
- Double Bump: Bump together twice (1, 2), then swing away from partner twice (3, 4) [DB74, JW75, RH76, AP76, AM79]. This can also be done in the opposite timing: away twice (1, 2), then bump twice (3, 4) [RN79].
- : Rosemary "Red" Hallum also provides a few footwork variations for the double bump:
- Walk: On the non-bumping beats, two steps in any direction [RH76]. A specific example: bump right hips twice then turn 180° to right in two steps to bump left hips twice then turn 180° to left in two steps [AM79].
- Step Touch: On the non-bumping beats, a step touch away from partner, and a step toward partner on the first bumping beat [RH76].
- Triple Bump: Swing away on 1 and bump together thrice on 2, 3, 4 [FA78, AK79, SM80].
- Electric Bump: Bump on every beat (1, 2, 3, 4) [JW75, AP76].
- Hustle Bump: While the Bump is usually done without touching (hands), it can also be done while holding hands [HF76, AC78, LW78, GL79].
- Trio Bump: One Lead bumps between two Follows, or one Follow bumps between two Leads [DB74, PT78].
- Trio Bump Single: Bump first partner (1), return to center (2), bump second partner (3), return to center (4) [DB74].
- Trio Bump Double: Bump first partner (1), bump second partner (2), bump first partner (3), bump second partner (4) [DB74].
Here's a sampling of music recommended for the Bump:
- DB74 — Dick Blake. (1974). Disco Dances. Cleveland Heights, OH.
- JW75 — Jann S. Wenner (ed.). (1975). "Dancing Madness." Rolling Stone. New York.
- RH76 — Rosemary "Red" Hallum, John Lampkin. (1976). Disco and Soul Dances [Instruction Booklet Accompanying Record]. Freeport, NY.
- HF76 — The Hustle Factory. (1976). Do the Hustle [Instructions on Back of Record Sleeve]. United States.
- AP76 — Abe Peck (ed.). (1976). Dancing Madness. New York.
- AC78 — Ann I. Czompo. (1978). Disco Hustle! Homer, NY.
- FA78 — Fred Astaire Dance Studios. (1978). Dancing Today. New York.
- PT78 — Pat Tatosian (dance), Gillette Madison Co. (music). (c. 1978). Nonstop Discotheque Party Dance [Instructions on Back of Record Sleeve]. Gillette, NJ.
- LW78 — Lester Wilson. (1978). Dance Dance Dance. Los Angeles.
- AM79 — Arthur Murray's Studios. (1979). Learn the Disco Hustle, Book 2. London.
- AK79 — Ann T. Kilbride, A. Algoso. (1979). The Complete Book on Disco and Ballroom Dancing. Los Alamitos, CA.
- GL79 — George Lloyd. (1979). Learn Disco Dancing. London.
- RN79 — Raymond Nock. (1979). Disco Dance. Cammeray, Australia.
- ER79 — Elizabeth Romain, Flick Colby. (1979). Let's Go Dancing. London.
- SM80 — Supermag (pub.). (1980). "Learn How to Disco." Supermag, Vol. 4, No. 1. Honesdale, PA.
© 2018 Nick Enge
For more dance descriptions, see our three books on dancing:
The Book of Mixers: 100 Easy-Teach Dances for Getting Acquainted (2022) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge,
Cross-Step Waltz: A Dancer's Guide (2019) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge, and
Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living (2013) by Richard Powers and Nick Enge.
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