The Jerk



The Jerk is a 1960s novelty dance that involves jerking the arms into and out of various positions.

The Dance

To dance the Jerk, bring one or both arms into a new position with a soft movement on count 1, and jerk it out of that position on count 2, softly moving into a new position on count 3, and jerking away from it on count 4. Repeat with a variety of arm positions.

Written descriptions of the Jerk generally focus on one position, namely, with both hands out to the side, elbows at nearly right angles, both hands in fists near at shoulder or head level, as illustrated above [DB65, HB66], but videos of performances from the time illustrate many other positions of the arms.

A snap can be added to the odd counts [HB66], or a clap can be added to the even counts.

The Music

"The Jerk" (1964) by The Larks is particularly well-suited for the Jerk.


© 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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