Dance Crazes: The Mashed Potato


The Mashed Potato was a dance sequence that became popular around 1962. The dance move begins by stepping backward with one foot with that heel tilted inward. The foot is positioned slightly behind the other (stationary) foot. With the weight on the ball of the starting foot, the heel is then swiveled outward. The same process is repeated with the other foot: step back and behind with heel inward, pivot heel out, and so on. The pattern is continued for as many repetitions as desired. The step may be incorporated in various dances either as a separate routine or as a styling of standard steps.

The first known recording that directly influenced the movement was by Nat Kendrick & The Swans with “(Do The)Mashed Potatoes” in 1960. The song was actually recorded by James Brown and his band, but due to contractual problems the record was released under Kendrick’s name.

Brown would return with the potato theme in 1962 with “Mashed Potato U.S.A”

Also popular, Dee Dee Sharp’s “Mashed Potato Time” was a popular song from the period.

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