The Hitch-Hiker

(1962)


Introduction

The Hitch-Hiker is a 1960s novelty dance in which the dancers imagine they are hitch-hiking.

It was inspired by Marvin Gaye's "Hitch-Hike" (1962) and described in Dick Blake's Discothèque Dances in 1965.

The Hitch-Hiker was also featured in a line dance of the same name described by Marie Cartmell in 1964.


The Dance

The main action of the Hitch-Hiker is simply a repeated hitching of the thumb over the shoulder.

In Blake's version, dancers hitch the right thumb three times over the right shoulder, followed by a clap to the right side. Then they hitch the left thumb three times over the left shoulder, followed by a clap to the left side [DB65]. Blake has the dancers looking forward, or away from the hitching thumb [DB65], while other sources specify to look at the thumb [HB66].

Accompanying a live performance of Marvin Gaye's "Hitch Hike," the song which inspired the dance, the backup dancers Hitch-Hike at both fast (one hitch per beat) and slow (one hitch for every odd beat) tempos. Gaye himself does super-slow version in which one hitch takes four beats (the same length as Blake's version). Later in the performance, the dancers do a version in which they repeatedly hitch the right thumb over the right shoulder as they travel to the right, hitching to the right on the odd beats, and clapping to the left on the even beats.


The Music

"Hitch Hike" (1962) by Marvin Gaye is the song that inspired the dance.


Sources


© 2020 Nick Enge


For more, see our two books on dancing:
Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living (2013) by Richard Powers and Nick Enge,
and Cross-Step Waltz: A Dancer's Guide (2019) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge.


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