An uncomfortable history of politicians who dance in public

This post was updated on June 13, 2014 after Chris Christie's dance performance necessitated it.

On Wednesday, a video of Rep. John Lewis dancing to the Pharrell single "Happy" graced the Internet with its presence.

 

It is magical, for many reasons. First of all, Lewis, who was the youngest person to speak at the March on Washington, is 74. Second of all, he announces during the video, “This is my song!” Third, he's actually a pretty good dancer, unlike many of his dancing politician predecessors. Since it is Friday, and yesterday was International Happiness Day, let's take a moment to remember some of the greatest hits of this genre.

WARNING: The sight of dancing politicians can be unsettling and too much for the easily queasy to bear. You have been warned.

Chris Christie

On June 13, 2014, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie went on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He did this.

The world was never the same.

 

Prince Charles

 

In the 1980s, a few people tried to teach Prince Charles, the next in line to the British throne, how to breakdance. The remix of his performance is even more enjoyable to watch.

 

Unfortunately, his son did not inherit his dance moves, skipping right to the elevated elbows, back-and-forth dad sway.

Barack Obama


Source: Gifsoup

 


Source: Uproxx

 


Our current president is also a fan of the ever dependable elevated elbows, back-and-forth dad sway.

Michelle Obama

She has danced with Jimmy Fallon.

She has danced with Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell.

 

She has posted #tbt dancing pictures.

 

She has danced with giant vegetables.


ABC US News | ABC Business News

 

She can teach you how to Dougie.

If U.S. elections were carried out by dancing competition, the First Lady would likely win.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary can dance.


Source: Buzzfeed

Bill and Chelsea ... not so much.

MC Rove

Why the "Karl Rove dance" never reached the faddish heights of the Macarena is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of American history.

President George W. Bush

This is a work of art -- the first Bush revealed to the world -- and requires no additional commentary.

Bush is also the only U.S. president who will ever dance with Ricky Martin.

Intermission: The Macarena

The Macarena is one of the politicians' favorite dance moves.

Former secretary of state Madeline Albright has done it.

Former secretary of state Colin Powell has done it. (Powell has a reputation for finding reason to dance in many circumstances.)

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton promised she would do the Macarena after the 1996 presidential election (detecting a trend here).

Al Gore made a joke about his own reputation for being stodgy by doing "the Al Gore Macarena" at the 1996 Democratic National Convention.


Source: Buzzfeed

The AP described the performance thusly:

The vice president's deadpan rendition of the spicy Latin dance hit, where he stared motionless at the crowd, evoked a roar of laughter from convention delegates Wednesday night.

Later, he repeated his spoof at a post-convention party attended by Mrs. Clinton and his wife, Tipper, the first lady said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Someone tried to teach Gore the flirty hand and swivel-hip movements, but "Al just stood there, and looked straight ahead," Mrs. Clinton said.

Al Gore has done real dancing too.

In the past two years, a couple of politicians have been forced to do the Macarena of the 21st century -- the Gangnam Style dance.

Mitt Romney has done it.

Psy taught UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon how to do it.

And, of course, John Lewis has done it.

Rosa DeLauro

No one loves dancing to Alicia Keyes more than this Connecticut representative. Don't even try competing.

The de Blasio Family

The deBlasio's have one dance move: the "Smackdown."

Rob Ford

The Toronto mayor danced to Bob Marley during a city council session in December 2013.

Darrell Issa

The California representative tried out a new dancing video game at the South by Southwest conference earlier this month.

Steve Cohen

The Democratic representative from Tennessee performed a rap during a 2010 campaign event.

 

He still won. Time Magazine wrote a piece at the time titled, "In Defense of Steve Cohen's Dance Moves."

Vladimir Putin

In this video from 2010, the Russian president doesn't do much dancing, but his rendition of "Blueberry Hill" does compel Goldie Hawn and Kevin Costner to sort of dance. Given recent political events, this is unlikely to happen anytime in the near future.

Putin likely keeps his public dancing to a minimum because former Russian president Boris Yeltsin is already the patron saint of dancing politicians everywhere. So much passion.

Tom DeLay

The former Republican House majority leader went on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2009.  He had to withdraw from the competition, after consulting with his doctors and performing with stress fractures in both feet. He was somewhat embarrassed, telling Jimmy Kimmel, "A boy from Texas breaking his feet dancing..."

Jon Tester

In February 2014, the Montana senator visited a Crow Indian reservation, and did a line dance with a bunch of kids. He kind of looked like a giant.

Elliot Woolfolk Major

Sadly, dancing can also ruin you political career. Take the case of Missouri Gov. Major, which the Washington Post covered in 1915. "Tango craze"!

Source: The Washington Post
Source: The Washington Post

 

RELATED: ‘Happy’ in 13 places around the world

Jaime Fuller reports on national politics for "The Fix" and Post Politics. She worked previously as an associate editor at the American Prospect, a political magazine based in Washington, D.C.
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