The Hully-Gully, French Madison, Hot Chocolate and Electric Slide
Richard Powers



Although jazz steps were sometimes performed by two or more dancers, side-by-side in unison, as in the Shim Sham (late 1920s, 1930s), the The Madison (1957-59) was the first dance to feature an entire room full of dancers all facing in one direction, without partners, performing a sequence of steps together as a group.  Both the Shim Sham and Madison were long series of about a dozen step patterns, performed in a specified order.  The Shim Sham pattern was memorized, while the Madison's steps were called out by a DJ or recording (most notably Ray Bryant's "Madison Time," 1959).

Watch Frankie Manning's version of the Shim Sham here.

Watch The Madison from John Waters' original version of "Hairspray" here.


The Hully-Gully from the early 1960s was a line dance with three new innovations.  1) It's believed to be the first line dance to turn one quarter, then repeat facing a different wall.  2) It was a single short pattern of steps, instead of the previous long sequences of step combinations.  3) An innovation that was retained by many later line dances is that it contained an odd number of dance phrases.  The five parts of the dance, done against the four phrases of music, kept the simplified repeating pattern more interesting that if it always aligned with the music.


The following is based a 1965 Hully-Gully description by Dick Blake.  Notice that he uses the term line dance.  They were called line dances because they were originally danced side-by-side in a straight line.  Watch any of the YouTube videos of early line dances, like the Madison, and you'll see that everyone is dancing in short straight lines.  You can also see the lines on the album cover to the right.
"This is a line dance.  In other words you stand side by side with your partner."

 1. Start with feet together; step to the right with the right foot.
 2. Cross behind right foot with left foot on count two, putting weight on left foot.
 3. Step right with the right foot.
 4. Kick left foot across your body.

5-8. Repeat to the left, starting with left foot on count one, crossing behind left foot with right on count two, stepping on left foot on count three and kicking right across body on count four.

 9. Step back on right foot.
10. Close left foot to right foot.
11. Step forward on right foot.
12. Scoot forward on right foot and bring left knee up simultaneously.
13. Step forward on the left foot.
14. Scoot forward on left foot and bring right knee up simultaneously.
15. Step forward on right foot.
16. Scoot forward on right foot and bring left knee up while turning a quarter to the right.

17. Now facing to the right, step to the left with the left foot.
18. Cross behind left foot with right foot on count two, putting weight on right foot.
19. Step left with the left foot on count three.
20. On count four, kick right foot across your body.
Variation 1:  Some dancers began the pattern with the side-left phrase, steps 17-20 above.

Variation 2:  Some dancers hitched the left hip up and forward on count 12, instead of scooting the right foot forward.  Repeat opposite.

Variation 3:  Another side-step pattern was side-close-side, without crossing behind.

        Watch all three variations here, in a video I shot in Italy.  The Hully-Gully is still very popular in Italy.

Variation 4:  Instead if kicking across ofter the side-steps, simply tap closed in place.  This is not a choreographic change, but just a minor stylistic choice.



EVOLUTION OF A DANCE

The original Madison made its way to France in the late 1950s, where young dancers loved doing the latest American fads.  But it was no more than a brief novelty because most dancers found the long series of steps too difficult to memorize.

Harold Nicholas (1921-2000) took the new Hully-Gully to Paris and demonstrated it on a Paris pop music television program "Age tendre et tête de bois" on February 16, 1963.  The next year, filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard made Bande à part and featured a slightly modified version of the Hully Gully.  The dancers retained the original five-part phrasing, but replaced the Part 5 side step with stopping in place.  (Then they invented a second part for the film, to make it more interesting).  Watch it here.

More young French dancers saw Bande à part than the television show, but the film didn't say what the new dance was called.  So moviegoers just assumed it must be another Madison, and called it Le Madison.  This version has been danced in France ever since, often at weddings and parties.  In France, the stop in place on part 5, from Bande à part, was morphed into the final step of Part 4, thus squaring four parts of the dance to the four phrases of the music.  Today most French still call it Le Madison instead of the Hully-Gully.  Italians call it the Hully-Gully and keep the original five parts.


The disco line dance Hot Chocolate (1978) is very similar, 15 years after the Hully-Gully.  Its primary feature was that it simplified every aspect of the Hully-Gully that a beginner or non-dancer might find difficult: the step-ball-change, the hip-hitch walking forward, and the odd number of phrases danced against the music.  With all of the drinking done in discos (44,000 new disco clubs sprouted up in 1978 partially because liquor sales were so profitable), this was a smart adaptation.
 1. Step to the right with the right foot.
 2. Cross behind right foot with left foot on count two, putting weight on left foot.
 3. Step right with the right foot on count three.
 4. Tap L closed to R.  (Or as with the Hully Gully, the left foot can kick or swing across in front of the right foot.)

5-8. Repeat to the left, starting with left foot on count one, crossing behind left foot with right on count two, stepping on left foot on count three and tapping R on four.

 9. Walk back on right foot.
10. Walk back on left foot.
11. Walk back on right foot.
12. Tap L closed to R.
13. Step forward on the left foot, leaning forward.
14. Rock back on the right foot, leaning back.
15. Rock forward on left foot, leaning forward.
16. Kick the right foot forward while turning one quarter to the left.

The Electric Slide (circa 1989) was literally nothing new.  All 16 steps are identical to the earlier Hot Chocolate.  The only difference in the Electric Slide is in the timing of two of the steps.  In the Electric Slide the forward-back rocking steps (steps 13 and 14 above) are slow instead of quick.

Even though the Electric Slide was step-for-step identical to the 1978 Hot Chocolate, it was was copyrighted by Ric Silver in 2004, 15 years after the Electric Slide fad, based on a slight similarity to a much longer 44-step choreography of his called "The Electric."  Silver's extensive copyright claims for the Electric Slide have included lawsuits against anyone dancing "his" dance, and his filing DMCA-based takedown notices against YouTube users who posted videos of party-goers dancing the Electric Slide.