Silly dance moves are especially common in Lindy Hop. Early Lindy was very silly (consider the dance sequence from Hellzapoppin). The point is to do fun and unusual things, while keeping the rhythm of the music. Silly moves are performed socially and in competitions all the time.
To paraphrase Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina) "All dancers do swing outs alike, but every dancer is silly in his or her own way." Silly moves add personality to Lindy.
Silly moves exist in other dances as well. They may be seen in many folk dances, where they may evolve into whole pantomimes. Many street dances feature silly moves. Examples in Salsa Rueda are calls "Un Fly", "Frankenstein", "Cucaracha", "Telefoto" and many others. West Coast Swing, a close relative of Lindy, uses silly moves, among many other styles of improvisation. Elements of silliness are sometimes introduced even in ballroom dances, especially in showtime performances.
Silly moves include:
- Shimmy: Shaking the shoulders.
- Running in Place:
- Guy running around the girl: Often the follow spins in the opposite direction.
- Swimming with arms: Back stroke while moving away from follow or crawl while moving toward follow.
- Walking: Walking with funny steps. Think Monty Python's silly walk.
- Cradle Follow: Cradling the follow, by picking her up can seem quite silly.
- Running and Jumping: Run several steps and jump in the air. Clicking the heels together (bells in Tap) is nice style.
- Running and Sliding: Run several steps, then slide to a stop, then hold a pose.
- Bowling: The guy stands still and straight, until the follow bowls. Then he falls down with style.
- Sailor kicks: Lead and follow are side by side facing opposite directions, doing charleston kicks to their left while turning clockwise. Lead's left hand is holding the follow's right armacross the leads shoulders. Lead's right arm is wrapped around the follow's back holding the follow's left hand at the waist.
- Titanic: A freeze made popular by the movie Titanic. The Freeze stops in a tandem position with the follow in front leaning forward while the lead braces from behind. It is started from facing with a cross handed lead, and is done as an explosive underarm turn in 1 count.
- The Pterodactyl: In position for tandem Charleston, jumping up and down, flapping arms, and making pterodactyl noises.