How to do the batman dance

The Batusi | 1966 Batman Pages


Origins of the dance

During the 1960’s a dance craze called the “Watusi” swept across the United States dancefloors. The Batusi was a parody based on the dance.

Wikipedia – “In the classic Watusi, the dancer is almost stationary with knees slightly bent, although may advance forward and back by one or two small rhythmic paces. The arms, with palms flat in line, are held almost straight, alternately flail up and down in the vertical. The head is kept in line with the upper torso but may bob slightly to accentuate the arm flailing.”

Needless to say one of the most iconic (if not the MOST iconic) scenes from Batman is the “Batusi” dance in the very first episode. This really set the tone for the show straight away for me, deadly serious but seriously camp at the same time. As Batman enters the club just before the dance, a member of staff asks if he wants a table, with Batman replying; “I will just stand at the bar, wouldn’t wish to attract attention” – dressed as Batman with everyone staring, yeah right! Again setting the tone to the series. So seeing as this is so significant in my eyes it deserved a webpage dedicated to the dance on my website.

The dance moves itself was purely Adam West’s doing, rumour has it that he came up with it in the 10 minutes before filming the scene.

How to dance like Batman

  1. Run your hands over your ears, whilst getting into the groovy beat.
  2. Bend your right arm upwards whilst running your left hand up and down it.
  3. Now here’s the best part… Make a horizontal v-shaped sign with your index finger and middle fingers on both hands. Roll them across the front of your eyes simultaneously.
  4. Start shaking your body from top to bottom. If you’re wearing one, flap your cape around.
  5. Make the v-shape sign again, this time instead of rolling your hands simultaneously over your eyes, do it one side at a time.

Watch and learn

Besides being in the first episode “Hi Diddle Riddle” the Batusi was re-enacted in episode #28 “The Pharaoh’s in a Rut”. Batman dances for King Tut’s amusement as he pretends to be his mindless slave.

Other than being in the Batman TV series the Batusi has been parodied several times throughout the years. Most notably in “Pulp Fiction” (1994) John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance the Batusi in a 1950’s themed dance contest. Also in Adam West’s guest star appearance in the episode titled “Mr. Plow” of “The Simpsons”, Adam performs the Batusi for Homer, Bart and Lisa.

The video below includes both the dance scenes. Skip to 2 minutes 48 seconds if you want to see the  second dance.


Is The Batusi the best fad dance ever?


Sarah Ward

24 Jul 2017 - 3:15 PM  UPDATED 12 Dec 2017 - 11:46 AM

Batman’s first screen appearance was a memorable one. The premiere episode of the 1960s TV series featured an exploding cake, spiked orange juice, a potentially identity-revealing lawsuit, the Bat-Signal, the Bat-o-stat Antifire Activator and riddles aplenty; however it’s the trip to dance club What A Way To Go-Go that will go down in history. Batman causes a stir when he walks across the dance floor, but that’s nothing compared to the reaction when he decides to strut his stuff. His body moves in time with the go-go music, his hands lift to his face and his fingers make a horizontal V-sign as they move away from his eyes. Behold: The Batusi.

“You shake a pretty mean cape, Batman,” is the response from his dance partner — and The Riddler’s assistant — Molly, who voices the words that everyone is thinking. The Batusi would only feature in one other episode of the show, but its impact lives on. Dance fads come and go, but there’s something special about the dark knight’s signature moves. Is it the best dance fad ever?

A go-go groove

When is a dance fad more than just a dance fad? When it takes an existing craze and makes it its own. The Batusi both looked and sounded familiar in the ‘60s, drawing both its style and its name from the Watusi. No one waved their hands in front of their face in the Watusi, but the bobbing, shuffling and arm flailing otherwise remains. The Watusi came with its own song, ‘The Wah-Watusi’, which was originally a hit for The Orlons before being covered by Chubby Checker and Smokey Robinson. It also made an appearance in The Addams Family.

As for the origins of the moves in Batman, Adam West takes credit for them, though his claim has been disputed. In a 2005 interview, he explained, “I worked it out on my own, made it a singular moment of madness inspired by the ongoing debate in the media about whether drug use was mind-expanding or debilitating.” He continues, “I wasn’t trying to make a social statement. I just felt it would be funny and abstract to have Batman slightly out of his well-trained mind, losing control as a result of the drug.”

Everybody wants to be Batman

Where Batman goes, everyone else wants to follow, with the Batusi enjoying a number of high-profile revivals over the years. Fox Mulder broke out the Batusi in the latest season of The X-Files, Xena once gave it a whirl because warrior princesses still have time for iconic fad dances, and it even popped up on an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond — which has to be the show’s best moment. Antz and Scooby Doo both tried their hand, and, in animated form, Adam West himself introduced the dance to Homer, Bart and Lisa Simpson.

There’s no stronger display of Batusi love than at the world famous Jack Rabbit Slims’ twist contest, however. As Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, John Travolta and Uma Thurman took to the dance floor, unleashed their finest footwork, then segued from the twist to the swim to the Batusi. In fact, for those unfamiliar with Batman’s ability to cut a rug, it became the hand-waving gesture’s landmark outing. Quentin Tarantino has discussed showing Travolta the right moves, and we’d like to think they included nodding to Gotham City’s favourite superhero.

The challengers

As Pulp Fiction’s blend of dance fad highlights demonstrated, the Batusi is just one fad dance in a hefty list of fun grooves — some of which have stood the test of time, many of which haven’t. Everything from the tango and the samba to the Charleston and the foxtrot were initially considered dance crazes, but have now long since become standard styles, along with the likes of the jitterbug, rumba and salsa.

Perhaps the most famous — or, most insidiously pervasive — fad dance is the one everyone has been forced to participate in at a wedding at least once: the Chicken Dance. As far as its reach, the accordion-based song likely has every other dance craze well and truly beaten (as far as its ability to haunt your dreams as well).

Like the Watusi, many others have sprang from songs, be it the Nutbush, the Loco-Motion or ‘Y.M.C.A.’, or the likes of the Macarena and ‘Gangnam Style’ more recently. They’ve all become household names, though dances emerging from the stage and screen haven’t always shared the same fate. Sure, everyone knows the Time Warp, but the less said about the Urkel the better. The Roger Rabbit hardly gets a workout now, and the Bartman has faded into memory.

Dance fads will keep coming and going, but the Batusi has one thing going for it that no other dance does. A superhero busting a move — who doesn’t want to replicate that? It also benefits from the gift of sheer simplicity, requiring nothing more than a wave of the hands. It really couldn’t be easier, and coupled with just how much fun Adam West seems to be having when he shows what he can do (especially when using it to defeat King Tut in the Batusi’s second outing), how could anything top it?

Watch Batman every Friday night at 7:30pm and listen to the BATMANLAND podcast discussing the show each week. Episodes of the show are also streaming at SBS On Demand:

More on SBS:

Why doesn’t Batman dance anymore?

Remember when Batman was fun? He was really into labelling all his stuff. He couldn’t find anywhere to put that bomb. He danced. So what happened?

LA honours Batman's Adam West with the lighting of the Bat-signal

Los Angeles today remembered the iconic actor who starred as Batman in the 1966 series, Adam West, with this wonderful gesture.

BAM! KAPOW! Batman is coming to SBS VICELAND!

Great news, citizens! TV's Batman is coming to SBS VICELAND and we can confirm that it will be 100% pure West!

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"Batman" with Robert Pattinson: what is the movie about, the plot


Mikhail Morkin

March 9, 2022 19:03

Due to sanctions, the reboot of the main DC franchise disappeared from Russian cinemas the day before the release. We tell how Matt Reeves saw The Dark Knight, why his vision is simultaneously similar to the Christopher Nolan trilogy and the animated series from the 1990s, and what political message actor Jeffrey Wright spoke about when he proposed not to ban the film in Russia.

Briefly: what Batman is about

The serial killer Riddler (Paul Dano), a tall bespectacled man in a green jacket and hiding his face under a winter army mask, showed up at Halloween in Gotham. High-ranking officials become his victims: he crushed the head of the mayor, tore off the district attorney. He acts like Jigsaw from Jigsaw, dresses like a Zodiac, and breathes like Darth Vader. The police are looking for him along with Batman (Robert Pattinson), who receives personal mysteries from the killer. During the two years of fighting evil in the city, he achieved little: the servants of the law are allowed to go to crime scenes, but they consider him a freak, the criminals do not take him seriously, and the townspeople are afraid and do not trust him. nine0003

In the course of an investigation, along with Lieutenant Gordon (Geoffrey Wright) and Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), the Dark Knight plunges into the criminal bottom, where mafia boss Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) and his right-hand man Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell in disguise) live.

How the film is built into the franchise

Batman, the first Man-Bat solo movie in ten years, brings the franchise back to the "dark and gritty" Nolan approach after two and a half uninteresting but chaotic Snyder crossovers. Due to the mixed reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, Warner Bros. decided to reset the cycle: actor and director Ben Affleck left, Robert Pattinson took his place in front of the camera, and Matt Reeves, the author of the last two Planet of the Apes films, took his place behind the camera. Thus, all connections of the new "Batman" with the DC Cinematic Universe are cut off. nine0003

Intonally, the reboot turned out to be closer not to Zack Snyder's CGI-packed paintings, but to Joker, which also stood apart from other DC films and was inspired by New Hollywood classics. If the Todd Phillips film relied on Taxi Driver, then Batman is the flesh and blood of Chinatown, Roman Polanski's tragic neo-noir about corruption and incest (Reeves touched on these topics in the crime drama The Yards, which he wrote together with James Gray) .

True, Batman begins just like a Fincher thriller in the vein of Zodiac or Seven. "The Greatest Detective in the World" - this is how the superhero was nicknamed in the comics, and Reeves is the first director to turn Batman into Detective . For a good half of the three-hour running time, Batman examines crime scenes, interrogates criminals, walks "in civilian clothes" at nightclubs, listens in public places or conducts surveillance.

This is not another origin story with the murder of the Wayne couple: Bruce has been making night raids around Gotham for the second year, intimidating criminals. Like Rorschach from Watchmen, he keeps a diary in which he writes down statuses for publics on VKontakte: "They think I'm hiding in the shadows, but I am the shadow. " Pattinson voices his best thoughts about his path, retribution, fear and justice behind the scenes. If you try to make comparisons with previous screen versions of the hero, then this Batman is most similar to his brooding predecessor from the noir animated series 1990s.

The emphasis on detective rather than action is not the only genre difference between Batman and previous adaptations. Because of the love line between Catwoman and the Dark Knight, this is also a kind of "La La Land" from superheroes : it seems that the characters are made for each other, but the career turns out to be more important. The last time such a strong erotic subtext in Batman films was in Joel Schumacher's playful camp.

However, Bruce Wayne himself is sad, traumatized and a little off: his second personality has become the main one. The billionaire almost does not communicate with the butler Alfred (Andy Serkis), only goes out in the event of a funeral and is in no hurry to wash off the black makeup around the eyes. He has not yet decided on the level of cruelty towards criminals and during outbursts of anger he can go too far or in a state of passion. nine0003

Pattinson, who has played a whole gallery of mentally unstable and gloomy aggressors, fits the character perfectly.

The definite article the in the original title of the film is not accidental. This is really a Batman movie where charismatic villains or Bruce Wayne failed to pull the blanket over themselves. Moreover, Batman has a development: from an egocentric maniac, which even the people he saved are afraid of, he gradually turns into a reflective folk hero.

Beware, Batman movie spoilers follow. nine0091

Retelling the entire movie with all spoilers

Warner Bros and DC logos. Behind the scenes, the first notes of Schubert's "Ave Maria" sound. Giant red letters fill the screen a bit ridiculously: THE BATMAN . Halloween night. The Riddler, breathing heavily, watches Mayor Mitchell through binoculars, enters his luxurious mansion and hides in an unlit corner of the room. While the politician is watching the debate with his participation, the killer jumps out of the darkness screaming and smashes his head with a blunt metal object. Now the "gift" for the police needs to be beautifully packaged...

Meanwhile, smaller crimes are taking place all over the city: robbers and vandals have stepped up. Batman complains that he hasn't really slept at night for two years and still can't cope with crime - the city is too big. However, when the Batsignal lights up in the sky, each criminal begins to peer into the darkness with apprehension, expecting Retribution to jump out of there - this is how Batman pathetically presents himself to his enemies. Well, it's good that at least it's not the Horror flying on the wings of the night. Because of the negative image, even a Gotham resident trembles with fear, whom the vigilant saves from a gang of painted youths. nine0003

Lieutenant James Gordon leads Batman to the scene of Mitchell's murder through a crowd of colleagues who are dumbfounded by such impudence. The Riddler left a card for Batman with a riddle: "What does a liar do after death?" This is a play on words: the verb lie in English means both "lie" and "lie down." "What does a liar do after death?" - “He lies anyway” or “He lies motionless” “He lies still,” the hero guesses. In his cave, Bruce Wayne studies the video that his camera lenses filmed and outlines what he saw in the diary under Cobain's "Something in the Way". Butler Alfred Pennyworth warns his employer that his seclusion threatens bankruptcy, but Wayne does not care: he is sure that his night service is the main business of his family. nine0003

Batman and Gordon find a flash drive in the murdered mayor's car with a souvenir "trinket" - the politician's severed finger. After scanning his print, the detectives find photos of the family man Mitchell with his mistress at the exit of the Iceberg nightclub. Nearby stands its owner, a fat, scarred Oswald Penguin Cobblepot. Batman forcibly passes face control to the stash, where he interrogates Cobblepot about the identity of the girl in the photo to no avail. However, the detective notices that she was recognized by a local waitress, Selina Kyle. The mayor's mistress is her flatmate Annika Kosolova, an Estonian with a Slavic accent , whose passport the mayor kept in his safe. Kyle the bear cub goes to Mitchell's house to retrieve the document, where, after a brief but sexy fight dance, he befriends Batman.

While the men in black were flirting, someone kidnapped Annika, ripping apart Selina's cat-dwelling. Batman asks Selina to put on his spy lenses and go down to the bunker club hidden under the Iceberg. Right there - along with crime boss Carmine Falcone - all Gotham corrupt officials are having fun: from Mayor Mitchell and District Attorney Coulson (Peter Sarsgaard) to Police Commissioner Savage and a couple of nameless judges. By the way, all this time the Riddler also did not close his eyes: for example, he managed to poison Savage with rat poison, kidnap Coulson, and in a new accompanying postcard, call on Batman to bring some kind of "winged rat" into the world. nine0003

The film has passed the hour mark, and Bruce Wayne has just now made his first public appearance without a mask, at Mitchell's funeral. There he has a couple of interesting conversations. Falcone tells with a grin how Bruce's father mended his belly after a gunshot wound. "The Hippocratic Oath!" Bruce says. “Well, yes, yes,” the gangster grins, hinting at his friendship with Thomas Wayne. Black mayoral candidate Bella Real hunts down Wayne, who has been ignoring her calls for months to lecture: "Your father was a philanthropist, what are you?" But the audience does not have time to listen to the funeral speech: District Attorney Colson flies right into the temple in a jeep with a gag in his mouth and a bomb around his neck. Wayne retreats, Batman appears. nine0003

The Riddler makes a video call to the booby-trapped Coulson while simultaneously broadcasting the conversation to his Internet followers. If Coulson wants to survive, he must solve three maniac riddles: Batman helps with the first two, but the solution to the third is the name of the informant, thanks to which the police planted a major drug dealer Salvatore Maroni, and Mayor Mitchell's rating skyrocketed. Coulson, cursing the rotten system, refuses to answer and is torn to pieces. Spouse actors Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal, who played Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight, are collecting bingo: now they've both been blown up in Batmanian. nine0003

The police are pressing Batman, who failed negotiations with the terrorist, and he is forced to slip out of the station through the roof. An uncertain flight in a wingsuit starts normally, but the bat does not know how to land: it clings to the bridge with a parachute and rolls head over heels through the half-faces. Effective, but painful!

Of course, Gordon and Batman decide that the "rat with wings" is the Penguin! They follow him to a warehouse on the docks, where Selina is already waiting for the criminal, determined to steal his money. The heroes find Kosolova's body and come under fire. Cobblepot is running, Batman is chasing him in his fire-breathing muscle car. Dominic Toretto is jealous, Batman growls, everything explodes and turns over - Dune cameraman Greg Fraser filmed one of the most spectacular chases in the genre. And here is a bird in a cage! Alas, Cobblepot proves that Batman and Gordon were wrong, and the Riddler did not guess him - he is not an informer!

The investigation then leads Batman and Gordon to an abandoned orphanage, where they find a clue to the Riddler's next victim, Bruce Wayne. Batman frantically drives into his skyscraper, realizing that Alfred can suffer instead of him. Alas, he had already opened the mail bomb - he survived, but ended up in intensive care. Bruce is truly scared for the first time and realizes that he has something to lose in life. nine0003

The Riddler reveals to Batman that he knows his secret identity and shares his family's secret. Bruce's maternal grandmother killed his grandfather and then committed suicide. His mother Martha Arkham spent a lot of money to hide her biography from the public, and she herself spent a lot of time in a psychiatric hospital. When Thomas Wayne ran for mayor of Gotham, journalist Edward Elliot found out about this unflattering story. The politician tried to bribe him, and when the journalist refused, he asked his friend Falcone to intimidate the newspaperman. He chose to act more radically and killed him. The pious Wayne was crushed, decided to confess everything to the police, and on the same night he himself was shot dead along with his wife. It is no longer possible to prove Falcone's involvement. Bruce's parents could have been killed by both an ordinary robber and Salvatore Maroni, who was afraid that if Thomas won, Falcone's rival would have his own mayor. nine0003

Shocking revelations continue to pour in. It turns out that Selina is also forced to suffer because of the mistake of her fathers. Her own dad is none other than Falcone. The mafioso never took part in his daughter's life - even after the murder of her mother - and strangled her friend-neighbor-lover Annika when she found out that he was an informant. "Falcone" means "falcon", that is, he is "a rat with wings." But that's not all! In fact, Falcone ruled Gotham for 20 years thanks to the City Renovation Fund, which Wayne Sr. established during his presidential campaign. Using money from the fund, Falcone installed his own politicians, rigged elections, and paid bribes. Mayor Mitchell, who was killed by the Riddler, boasted that the largest drug consignment in history was wrecked under him and Maroni was imprisoned, but it turns out that since Falcone betrayed him, the entire denarcotization of the city happened thanks to an even more dangerous, greedy and powerful drug dealer, was completely fictitious and only worsened the criminogenic situation in Gotham. nine0003

Selina goes to the club to kill her father, but Batman stops her. Together with Gordon, he arrests Falcone and takes him outside. There he is overtaken by a sniper bullet from the Riddler who planned it all! Ten minutes later, the maniac is arrested in a diner nearby. The killer turned out to be forensic accountant Edward Nashton: he grew up in an orphanage where “rats ate the fingers of children”, and all his life he envied the privileged orphan Bruce Wayne, who grew up in the family tower above the park. nine0003

135 minutes into the movie, Batman and the Riddler meet face to face for the first and last time, through glass at Arkham Mental Hospital. All along, the killer was inspired by the way Batman fought evil with "fear and targeted violence." It turns out that the physically limited psychopath The Riddler used the privileged billionaire orphan as a puppet. He caught Falcone, surrounded by an army of guards - in fact, the main antagonist of the film - and brought him right into the sight of the Riddler. The Dark Knight denies complicity: “I didn’t help you! We are not a team! You are an attention-hungry terrorist!" An even more mentally unstable Nashton is almost hysterical: he thought that Batman would definitely appreciate his efforts. Paul Dano yells very loudly and uses insults: "You're not as smart as I thought." Batman doesn't like trolling - he triggers and hits the glass with his fists. nine0003

He's really not that smart. Dozens of like-minded Riddlers from the darknet are blowing up floodgates throughout the city and flooding all of Gotham. They believe that the idealistic Bella Real will win the mayoral election, but she still needs to be killed while performing at the main stadium of the city, because politicians cannot be trusted! Batman neutralizes two dozen snipers, takes a couple of point-blank shots, almost dies on the last fanatic: he wants to shoot him in the weakest spot - his teeth! At the last moment, Batman's smile is saved by Selina. They kiss, but then they begin to choke her! In a panic, exhausted and losing consciousness, Batman injects himself with some powerful adrenaline mixture. Having gone berserk under the influence of doping, he beats a strangler half to death, who calls himself ... Retribution. Eh, it turns out that all two years Batman really was a bad example for impressionable people. But this is not the end yet! People in the water in the middle of the ruins are threatened by a sparking electrical cable. Batman rushes to the rescue, cuts a wire with a Bat-iron stored in his chest plate, and dramatically falls from the height of the fifth floor into the water. Fell on the soft, everything is fine! The Dark Knight triumphantly leads people out of the flooded and collapsing structure, and the rescued finally stop being afraid of him. Now he is not a source of fear, but a red ray of hope. nine0033

"Something in the Way" plays again. Batman's voice-over promises hard times and talks about the symbolism of his figure. Bella Real calls on voters to restore the city, revive the institutions of power, replace all officials, gain faith in each other and Gotham. The Riddler howls with indignation in a cell in a mental hospital. But nothing, he finds there a new - real, and not by correspondence - friend of the Joker (no, this is not Joaquin Phoenix, but Barry Keegan from The Eternals and The Killing of a Sacred Deer). nine0003

Selina is leaving town. She is sure that it will get worse, and other bastards will come to replace Falcone: “Someone will definitely seize power, and there will be a lot of blood.” Batman, on the other hand, refuses to emigrate with Selina, despite promises of "fun", because he is sure that the city can change. A bat-signal lights up in the sky, and it becomes clear: the paths of the heroes will part for some time. The sad and noble music of Michael Giacchino plays. After the credits, a farewell message from the Riddler appears: Goodbye?

What does it all mean?

After Warner Bros. canceled the release of "Batman" in Russia at the last moment due to a "military operation" on the territory of Ukraine, a political scientist by first education Jeffrey Wright, who played the anti-corruption activist Gordon, called for the film to be shown in Russia - not for the sake of money, but for the sake of the message. “Let the Russians see everything we show thanks to our freedom. Let the Russians hear the songs of freedom and understand what changes when the top begins to behave differently ,” the actor said.

Dozens of articles and several academic books have been devoted to the political reading of Christopher Nolan's trilogy. The Dark Knight was seen by many as a reflection of Bush's anti-terrorist policies, and in its sequel, The Legend Reborn, as a statement about class war and the Occupy Wall Street civil protest movement. In Batman v Superman, where conservative billionaire Wayne had no hesitation in taking down a dangerous alien in case he turned villain, there was talk of national security, civil liberties, and illegal immigrants. nine0003

Of course, with such a political baggage, the new "Batman" will also not escape political readings. Matt Reeves filmed an atmospheric noir about the most hopeless and corrupt Gotham in the history of Batman: the puppet government has been working for criminals for twenty years, journalists are being killed, the police are inactive because they have only supported the system for a long time, the oppressed people are going crazy and sitting on the darknet, billionaires are starting to notice their privileges and act only when arbitrariness concerns them personally. After all, what would Bruce Wayne be doing if his parents were alive? nine0003

In a word, it turned out to be at least as stupid as The Dark Knight and many times more entertaining visually. As we recall from Gary Oldman's final speech, Nolan's film was about a hero "whom Gotham deserves, but who the city doesn't need now.

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