Origins of the dance
During the 1960’s a dance craze called the “Watusi” swept across the United States dancefloors. The Batusi was a parody based on the dance.
Wikipedia – “In the classic Watusi, the dancer is almost stationary with knees slightly bent, although may advance forward and back by one or two small rhythmic paces. The arms, with palms flat in line, are held almost straight, alternately flail up and down in the vertical. The head is kept in line with the upper torso but may bob slightly to accentuate the arm flailing.”
Needless to say one of the most iconic (if not the MOST iconic) scenes from Batman is the “Batusi” dance in the very first episode. This really set the tone for the show straight away for me, deadly serious but seriously camp at the same time. As Batman enters the club just before the dance, a member of staff asks if he wants a table, with Batman replying; “I will just stand at the bar, wouldn’t wish to attract attention” – dressed as Batman with everyone staring, yeah right! Again setting the tone to the series. So seeing as this is so significant in my eyes it deserved a webpage dedicated to the dance on my website.
The dance moves itself was purely Adam West’s doing, rumour has it that he came up with it in the 10 minutes before filming the scene.
How to dance like Batman
- Run your hands over your ears, whilst getting into the groovy beat.
- Bend your right arm upwards whilst running your left hand up and down it.
- Now here’s the best part… Make a horizontal v-shaped sign with your index finger and middle fingers on both hands. Roll them across the front of your eyes simultaneously.
- Start shaking your body from top to bottom. If you’re wearing one, flap your cape around.
- Make the v-shape sign again, this time instead of rolling your hands simultaneously over your eyes, do it one side at a time.
Watch and learn
Besides being in the first episode “Hi Diddle Riddle” the Batusi was re-enacted in episode #28 “The Pharaoh’s in a Rut”. Batman dances for King Tut’s amusement as he pretends to be his mindless slave.
Other than being in the Batman TV series the Batusi has been parodied several times throughout the years. Most notably in “Pulp Fiction” (1994) John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance the Batusi in a 1950’s themed dance contest. Also in Adam West’s guest star appearance in the episode titled “Mr. Plow” of “The Simpsons”, Adam performs the Batusi for Homer, Bart and Lisa.
The video below includes both the dance scenes. Skip to 2 minutes 48 seconds if you want to see the second dance.