The bunny hop is a novelty dance that was created at Balboa High School in San Francisco in 1952. It is a social mixer dance, sometimes also referred to as a "party" or "dance party" dance.
The dance has been generally done to Ray Anthony's big band recording of the song. It was a vocal hit in 1952, and instrumentally re-recorded c. 1958. The song has been re-recorded by others, including musical updates of the style, for example, a Salsa version. Duke Ellington recorded "Bunny Hop Mambo" in 1954. Other popular music of the era is also used, such as "The Glow-Worm."
Ray Anthony's single release of the "Bunny Hop" featured another novelty dance classic, the "Hokey Pokey" on the B side.
The dance is a variation on a conga line. Participants dance in a line, holding on to the hips of the person in front of them. They tap the floor two times with their right foot, then with their left foot, then they hop forwards, backwards, and finally three hops forward to finish the sequence, which continues throughout the tune. The first person in the line leads the group around the floor.
The Finnish dance style called "Jenkka" has essentially the same steps. Originating from the 19th century, jenkka is actually the same dance style as the German slow tempo polka called schottische or rheinlÃ¤nder. It is characterised by three quick steps and a hop and is danced to music in 2/4 time. Finnjenkka, also known as letkajennkka and letkis, is one of the many variations of jenkka. Typical to it is that all the people dancing form a line and hold on to the one in front by the waist.
In Popular Culture
The Ray Anthony version is heard in John Waters' Cry-Baby film with Baldwin and the Whiffles hopping.
The Bunny Hop is shown in the Family Ties pilot when Alex goes to a country club event and mentioned again in the episode "Karen II, Alex 0".
In the Friends episode "The one in Massapequa", guest star Alec Baldwin asks Phoebe if she wants to do the Bunny Hop in Monica's parents anniversary party.
In the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "Fresh Prince After Dark", Carlton is seen doing the Bunny Hop at the Playboy Mansion.
In the Everybody Loves Raymond episode "The Walk to the Door", one of the main characters Robert Barone dances to the bunny hop at a family wedding.
Cave Story uses the Jenka music.
"New Pop Records", Time Magazine, January 26, 1953