Time Warp Dance

Rachel Hanson
Fun Dancing the Time Warp

The Time Warp dance is one of the audience favorites of the movie and musical The Rocky Horrow (Picture) Show. The Time Warp prompts high levels of audience participation, both in singing along, and in dancing to the catchy tune of the same name as the dance.

The Rocky Horrow (Picture) Show

A cult classic, the movie (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and the musical (The Rocky Horror Show) have captivated audiences since the 1970s. A fantastical story paired with rock-n-roll tunes, many featuring Meat Loaf, turned out to be a recipe for immediate and long-lasting success for creator Richard O'Brien. Beginning as a rock musical in 1973, it was made into a movie in 1975. The movie version of the soundtrack, featuring Meat Loaf, is still a top seller, and the movie version is enjoyed not only by home viewers, but also enjoyed en masse in theaters, often at midnight. Avid fans go to these showings again and again; not only do they sing along to the catchy tunes, but they also come to the event dressed up and in full make-up. Many viewers turn into performers during the course of the show, enthusiastically dancing along with the characters on the screen.

Rocky Horror Dancing

The story features a transvestite gathering attended by a young couple whose car has broken down. Inside the "Frankenstein House," instead of getting to use the phone to call for help, they are drawn into the antics of those at the gathering. At first, the dancing, make-up, costumes, and behavior shock the young couple, but they are quickly drawn into dances and tunes like the Time Warp dance. Like audiences, they are hooked, and join in the singing and dancing where they can. Dressed very innocently, they don't quite fit in to the somewhat crude dances of Rocky Horror, but this only adds to the appeal of the hip thrusts and the racy lyrics that accompany them.

Several signature dances are in the Rocky Horror repertoire; the Time Warp is one of the most-loved ones.

Time Warp Dance Steps

The steps are basic, and can be learned by anyone and performed well by dancers with even the least amount of coordination and sensitivity to rhythm. One of the reasons the dance is so easy to learn and execute is because the steps sometimes correspond with the words being sung. In addition, the lyrics are drawn out in places so that each syllable is a move, making the dance an easy one to pick up.

  • First, jump to your left, landing on both feet.
  • After a pause (while grooving to the music), dart your right foot out to the side, bring it back, and repeat. Dart your right foot out to the side a third time, and leave it there--then groove.
  • Put your hands on your hips, pause, and then bring your knees together (feet are still apart).
  • With your hands still on your hips, rock your body to the back, to the front, back and front again. This looks more like a body thrust than a hip thrust.
  • Then make a wide circle with your hips--again it turns out looking more like a body circle than a hip circle.
  • Put your right hand in the air, then your left (forming a V), then bring your right hand down to your left hip and then your left hand down to your right hip. Uncross your arms, place your hands on your hips, and make a circle with your body, bouncing to the beat of the music. Repeat this step.

This all might sound confusing with no demonstration of what it looks like. Watch the original movie scene to see them dance the Time Warp, which should make the moves simple and easy to understand. If you need additional help, there are a few videos on YouTube that offer instructions for dancing the Time Warp. This instructional video features some of the original moves, with some modifications--a fun version of the dance. However, if you want to perform the dance with other fans of the movie/musical, you'll want to learn the original steps without any modifications. Check out this Time Warp home video to see two teens practicing the dance with costumes.

Classic of Pop Dance

Much like Michael Jackson's Thriller dance, the Time Warp is a popular favorite for audience participation. Learn the steps and have some fun the next time you get the chance to join in.

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Time Warp Dance