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Richland County Democratic Executive Committee

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The History and Legacy of Knee Dancing USA, the 1988 Dance Phenomenon



Knee Dancing USA: The Dance Craze that Rocked America in 1988




Knee dancing is a form of dance that involves moving on the knees, often with the help of special pads or shoes. It is a challenging and expressive dance style that requires strength, flexibility, and creativity. Knee dancing became popular in the United States in 1988, thanks to a movie called Knee Dancing, directed by Michael Lessac and starring Lynn Whitfield and Christopher Collet.




Knee Dancing USA, 1988


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The Movie that Started It All




Knee Dancing is a romantic comedy that tells the story of a young dancer named Lisa (Whitfield) who falls in love with a knee dancer named Danny (Collet). Lisa is a classically trained ballet dancer who dreams of joining a prestigious company, but she faces discrimination and rejection because of her race. Danny is a rebellious and talented knee dancer who performs on the streets and clubs of New York City. He introduces Lisa to the world of knee dancing and helps her discover her own style and voice. Together, they face the challenges of pursuing their passion and overcoming their differences.


The Impact of Knee Dancing




Knee Dancing was a low-budget independent film that received mixed reviews from critics, but it became a cult hit among audiences, especially young people who were inspired by the dance scenes and the music. The movie featured original songs by artists such as Chaka Khan, The Pointer Sisters, and The Temptations. The movie also showcased the skills and talents of real knee dancers who performed as extras or stunt doubles for the main actors. Some of these knee dancers were members of a group called The Magnificent Force, which was one of the pioneers of knee dancing in the 1980s.


Knee Dancing sparked a wave of interest and enthusiasm for knee dancing across the country. Many people wanted to learn how to knee dance or watch others do it. Knee dancing classes, workshops, competitions, and shows became popular in various cities and venues. Knee dancing also influenced other forms of dance, such as hip hop, breakdancing, and jazz. Knee dancing became a symbol of creativity, freedom, and diversity in the American dance scene.


The Challenges and Controversies of Knee Dancing