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Camel Walk Dance History Origin Page
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Camel Walk dance history origin Title    The Camel Walk was a ragtime animal dance, came originally from Vaudeville shows. The Camel Walk was mainly done by college students and "flappers" during the Jazz age in the 1910's and 20's with the public as a social dance. It was basically done with a Straight Up (Posture) but otherwise was walking 1920's fox-trot from start to end while dragging your steps slightly, done to slow music and in a zigzag direction or rotary direction. The Camel Walk drew a lot of displeasure among many mainly because the Girls would rest their heads on the leaders shoulder while dancing which many frowned upon as vulgar dancing. Occasionally the dance was varied with Fox-Trot steps by those who disliked anything quite so extreme.

Another version was done in the 1950's/60's: see clip!

    The Camel Walk spin-offs of the 1910's became a popular retro dance to do at the time in the 1950's/60's, however these spin-off's were freestyle rather than couples. With such dances as the Camel Walk, Dance the Camel Walk, The Camel Walk Stroll etc ... It is said the the Horse dance was just another Camel Walk. The Camel Walk became the Stroll in the 1950's.

    The two signature step's of the Camel Walk was the ronde or fan (rotary-walk rather than a gait or a transverse walk? of the leg, and the high slow lifting walking step forward. There is also the 'knee pop' or funky "Camel-Walk" variation with the leg hooking behind the other as seen in the above clip by Sammy. The Boogie Walks / Shorty George are also related to the Camel walk.


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

USA 1910's Vaudeville Ragtime / Animal

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles ...

n/a n/a 1916 - Camel Walk (Jos M. Verges)
    1919 - Camel Walk Blues (Ebon Gay)
            1921 - Camel Walk (Ted Lewis)
            1925 - Camel Walk (Chris Smith / Cecil Mack)
            1925 - Camel Walk (Ted Lewis & His Band)
            1926 - Camel Walk - Eleuterio Yribarren Red Hot Panamerican Jazz
            1925 - Camel Walk (University Six)
            1935 - The Camel Walk (Nichols, Smith-Brymn)
            1937 - Camel Hop (Goodman)
            1958 - Camel Walk Stroll (Mattice)
            1959 - Pink Camel Walk (Four Daddy 'O's)
            1961 - Camel Walk
            1967 - The Camel Walk (James Brown)
            1960's The Camel Walk (Bobby Rush)
            Camel Walk (The Original Starfires)
            Camel Walk (part 2) (The Saxons)
            Camel Toe
            1960s - Do The Camel Walk (Magic Sam)
            Funky Camel Walk (Little George Jr.)

Night Clubs



Skinny's Shoeshine Parlor n/a n/a

Films / Videos


Ballets / Stage

1915 - Family Adopts a Camel, The n/a n/a
1960 - American Musical Theatre        
1988 - Hairspray [DVD]        

Other Related Dances of the time...

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

Dances using the word 'Walk'

Alligator Walk Camel Walk Duck Walk Georgia Walk Syncopated Walk
Bear Walk Castle Walk Elephant Walk Lambeth Walk Walkin' the Dog
Cake Walk Chimpanzee Walk Fish Walk Monkey Walk Boogie Walks




Al Minns n/a 3/6/1921 - Kansas City Star (Alligator Glide Displaces Camel Walk)
Chicken Hicks ?   5/12/1921 - Syracuse Herald (Jury doesn't Like Camel Walk)
James Brown   12/8/1921 - Bridgeport Telegram (Camel Walk Horrifies Lady)
Josephine Baker   9/27/1922 - Syracuse Herald (Camel Walk, Tango)
Leon James    
Sammy Davis Jr.    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...



Date Published


$ Jazz Dance: The Story of American ... Stearns, Marshall 1994 Da Capo Press

Musicians / Bands


Poets / Writers

Benny Goodman n/a n/a
Benny Gordon      
Bob Mattice      
Bobby Rush      
James Brown      
Johnnie And Jack        
Ted Lewis And His Band        
T.J. Fowler        
Woody Herman        

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

Canter Glide Slide The Stroll
Collegiate Hassapiko Step Trot
Drag Hop Stomp  
Flappers March Stroll  
Gaite Saunter Strut  


  • Basic Steps:
    This step is done with a long tension on every step, as if a heavy weight was attached to each foot, and the direction is diagonally back and forth and yet advancing at the same time. First measure of music, One walking step forward with left foot, then the right foot.
  • Second measure:
    - The left foot takes a long step. (The Camel Walk), dragging step to the right, the right foot then makes a half circle or pivot around to the left. The left foot then makes a sweeping pivot or semicircle (ronde) to the right and circling around to the left. The right foot again makes the sweeping pivot or circle, continuing the direction to the left and coming around in the half pivot or semicircle to the right.
  • Third measure:
    - One walking step with the left foot to the right, second walking step with right foot toward the right, third walking step with left foot toward the right, fourth walking step toward the right, which gives a diagonal direction.
  • Fourth measure:
    - Four walking steps forward commencing with the left foot. Then the Fox Trot Steps may be introduced and the Camel commences to stalk again or the Camel figures just given may be continued in a reversed direction. Any combination may be utilized following the will of the leader as long as it is slow and dragging in the Camel steps.

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