Home : Indroducing Partner Dancing : The Stroll
The Stroll is a typical case where the name of an original American dance has become confused by a later generation of retro-jive enthusiasts.
In the US "The Stroll" is a specific dance in which men and women form two lines facing each other. Dancing primarily to 'The Diamond's' 1957 hit recording of 'The Stroll', each successive top couple then 'strolls' down between the lines, executing a variation of the camel walk (a kind of hobbling step done with the feet alternating behind each other) as can be seen in the film 'American Graffiti'. The same choreography became a major feature on the American TV programme 'Soul Train' although they didn't acknowledge it as "The Stroll".
What the Brit' enthusiasts call "The Stroll" is in fact a Madison style dance, in that it is a kind of swing line dance performed in formation by a large group, the most similar current popular US version right now is 'The Electric Slide'. It is mentioned here because "strolls" are often danced in 'retro' Rock'n'Roll clubs. Typically two or three people start a stroll; others notice and join in until, eventually, the whole dance floor is filled with dancers performing "the Stroll" in unison.
The Madison, The Hully Gully, and The Wobble were amongst the most popular of these dances in the US in the 1950's. The Shim-Sham was in fact a very early Swing Lindy dance that has gained a new lease of life more recently. Modern equivalents have been the 'Bus Stop' (as danced in 'Saturday Night Fever') or more recently the 'Macarena' (danced to the hit of the same name), which of course owes a lot also to the original 'Hand Jive'.