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Bunny Hug Dancers doing the Bunny Hug Dance

Bunny Hug Dance

         It is said that the Bunny Hug originated in San Francisco at the "Fairmont Hotel" in 1911 along with the Texas Tommy, Turkey Trot and Grizzly Bear. Dr. Adams, who wrote 'The Social Dance' book states: 'The Bunny Hug is danced in imitation of the sex relations between male and female rabbits.' However, his book was pretty much "Antidance". The dance was a pretty steamy grinding, shaking and wiggling dance for the day and was usually danced to real slow blues, but could be done fast as well. The Bunny Hug caused a lot of uproar in polite society which created a lot of press coverage for these type of dances.

     Noble Sissle has been quoted as saying that W.C. Handy's "Memphis Blues " song inspired Vernon Castle to create the dance when he heard James Reese Europe play the Memphis blues and Castle liked the rhythm. Sissle went on to say that Castle later renamed the 'Bunny Hug' the 'Fox-trot.' (This is highly unlikely, see fox-trot!)

1938 - Stage magazine, repeated an earlier statement:
          "We hear the Two-step and an outrageously indecent display called the Bunny Hug are gaining favor with the younger element. Let them watch their steps, these young sensationalists. The time will come when they will tire of this eternal jogging and jerking, and find more surcease in the grace and restful beauty of the Valse".

    On March 27th, 1913 Mr. Ed Spence of Grants Pass, Oreagon was knifed 11 times while trying to enforce a rule at his club 'Holland' that no animal dances allowed, He caught a couple doing the Bunny Hug and had an arguement over it. (...Hugh Wetshoe)

    In 1914, Germany introduced a dance entitled "The Rabbit Dance" which was said to be just like the American Bunny Hug.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

San Francisco 1911 dancers at Fairmont Hotel, S.F. Ragtime / Animal / Couples

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Video Clips (pop-up)

Music Titles

n/a 1912 - Bunny Hug Video Clip not available at this time Anti Ragtime Girl
You-Tube video clip pop up
Funny Bunny Hug (Ada Jones and Billy Murray)
            Video Clip not available at this time London Blues
            Video Clip not available at this time Memphis Blues (Handy)
You-Tube video clip pop up
The Bunny Hug (1912)
You-Tube video clip pop up
The Bunny Hug Rag (1913)

Night Clubs



Fairmont Hotel - San Francisco Majestic Theatre (1914) n/a
Braddock Height Country Club (1912)        
Delmonico's (4/1912 NY)            


Ballets / Stage

1913 - Bunny & the Bunny Hug 1914 - Bunny in Fairyland (John Bunny)
1947 - Fabulous Dorseys (Clip)  

Newspaper and Magazine Publications

      1/2/1910 - Oakland Tribune (Club women wage war on Tough Dances)
      2/18/1912 - Oakland Tribune (Bunny Hug Style and Florida Success)
      5/24/1912 - Fairbanks Weekly (Bans Bunny and Grizzly)


7/21/1912 - Oakland Tribune (Bunny Hug, Fox Dance, Stork Hop)
Lawrence Welk Show (Bobby Burgess) 8/26/1912 - aily News - Frederick, MD (Bunny Hug)
      9/29/1912 - Oakland Tribune (Chicago Bans Wiggly Dances)
      1/6/1913 - Mansfield News (Fashion and the Bunny Hug)
      5/28/1913 - Grand Rapids Tribune (Memphis embargos films Bunny Hugs)
      10/26/1913 - Lima Daily News (Police Woman Taught Bunny Hug)
      11/13/1913 - Oakland Tribune (Reverend takes a slap at Bunny Hug)
      11/22/1914 - Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette (John Bunny)
      8/26/1915 - Olean Eve Herald (Marines do Bunny Hug as Ship Sank)
      9-15-1915 - Washington Post (Bunny Hug Bannished)
      8/1938 - Stage Magazine

Other Related Dances of the time...

Aeroplane Waltz Cartel Waltz Hesitation Waltz March (Marches) Shimmy
Apache Dance Castle Walk Hippohop Maurice Tango Shiver Shake
Argentine Ardor Charleston Honey Bug Maxixe Skirt Dance
Arizona Anguish Chicken Flip Hoochie Coochie Mooch and Sugar Slow Drag
Bacchanalian waltz Collegiate Horsetrot Necktie Waltz Syncopated Canter
Baltimore Buzz Collegiate Fox-trot Hug-Me-Tight One Step Tango
Bambuca Collegiate Shag Innovation Ostrich Stretch Terripan Toddle
Black Bottom Dewey Dip Jazzarimba Pavlova Gavotte Texas Tommy
Boll Weevil Wiggle Dizzy Drag Jelly Glide Peabody Toddle
Boston Dip Fado Fox-trot Kangaroo Canter Pickaninny Dandle Turkey Trot
Break away Fox-trot Kangaroo Waltz Pollywog Wiggle Two-step
Bunny Hug Fuzzy-Wuzzy Kitchen Sink Puppy Snuggle Varsity Drag
Buzzard Lope Gaby Glide Lambeth Walk Quickstep Walkin' The Dog
Cabbage Clutch Gilda Glide Lame Duck Rabbit Dance, the Waltz
Camel Walk Grizzly Bear Lemon Squeeze Salome dance Whirlwind Waltz
Cantor Waltz Grizzly Glide Love Dance Shadow Dance Wiggle-de-Wiggle
    LuLu Fado    

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


John Bunny and Ben Linn and His Bunnies (1914) n/a Ed Spence (1913 - Knife Wounds)
Miss Kiyoke Kachi (Japan 1913)   La Guardia
Bobby Burgess   Rev. George W. Black (1913 Mendocino)

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...



Date Published


Balli di ieri e balli d'oggi Gavina, P. 1922 ??
The Social Dance Adams, Dr. R.A. 1921 Revels Acorn
The Wonderful World of Dance Haskell, Arnold 1960 Rathbone Books
From Cakewalks to Concert Halls (Good Book!) Morgan, Thomas 1992 Elliott & Clark




Poets / Writers

Dorseys, the n/a n/a n/a
Harry Von Tilzer          
W.C Handy            

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Animal Dances Flappers Nickle Dance Halls Suggestive Dances
Collegiates Sexual Dances Freak Dances Banned Dances (Bans)
Wiggle Dances Tough Dancing Tenderloin Dance Halls Prostitution Houses



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