7 Funky Dances those Boston Dynamics Robots made us love

Boston Dynamics – The Creators

To round out 2020, Massachusetts-based engineering and robotics design company, Boston Dynamics (B.D.), treated the world to something special.

According to their YouTube channel their mission is, ‘to build the most advanced robots on Earth, with remarkable mobility, agility, dexterity and speed’. With their latest project they have definitely showcased all of these things and more! Watch the video below for the full performance to ‘Do You Love Me’ by The Contours (1962). We assure you, it’s something special.

The Moves!

Now that you’ve picked up your jaw, we need to talk about what we’ve just watched. The robot called Atlas jumping, Handle shaking a tail feather, and wait, is Spot…singing?!

We want to breakdown 7 of the most iconic dances featured in this video and hope you will enjoy. All images below are clickable and will take you to the relevant moment in the Boston Dynamics video. Without further ado, let’s start with..

The Two Step

The Two Step occurs in most modern and classic dances and is an easy starting point for beginners. We literally just step from side to side. Also,known as the ‘step touch’ if you think you can’t dance, chances are, this IS your dance 🙂

The Night Fever

Inspired by John Travolta’s solo in the iconic film, Saturday Night Fever, this move is a favourite at weddings everywhere.

We have to give props to the Boston Dynamics team for figuring out not only the movement pattern, but the body angle of the moves. That little arm roll in the middle didn’t go unnoticed either.

Check the clip below of the exact moment Travolta does this dance and compare it to the B.D. clip Who does it best?!

The Twist

Now this dance is a true classic and is an inherent movement in our day-to-day lives. When Hank Ballard and the Midnighters released ‘The Twist’ in 1959, it became a classic. Covered by Chubby Checker who also released ‘Let’s Twist Again’ in 1970, the song and dance truly transcends all cultures.

Everyone and their cousin was doing The Twist back in 1962 and the video below echoes this. Did YOUR folks do The Twist?

The Running Man

Another dance that transcends HipHop culture, The Running Man was inspired by the film of the same name.

A dance that looks like you are travelling but keeps you in one place was a great choice by Boston Dynamics. I mean, if you were going to imagine a robot dancing, I think this dance would be pretty high up on the list of moves.

Something we HADN’T imagined, though, was what the 4-legged Spot would look like doing this dance. We’ll come back to Spot later 🙂

Our boys Alex and Kadeem from Manifest Nation showcase the Running Man below

The Charleston / Charlie Rock / Kid n Play

We’re all familiar with the ‘two front, two back’ of The Charleston, and this foot pattern occurs in a LOT of dances.

These ladies below show how it may have looked in the 1920’s

Then in Rocking (part of the Breakin’ dance style) you have the Charlie Rock, as demonstrated here by Mr Wiggles:

It’s also important to recognise that the basic step of cross-body salsa features this foot pattern! Our favourite iteration, though is the Kid n Play from the 1990 film, House Party:

Can you imagine if Boston Dynamics got two of their creations to perform this dance?! Time will tell.

Now for something completely different..

Bourrés en Couru

Bourrés en Couru which, loosely speaking means, ‘drunk running’, is a ballet technique performed on pointe. Boston Dynamics were on point when they came up with this dance idea for Spot, because we have no clue how much tuning was needed to create this movement. Wow!

Definitely highlight of the project and an amazing insight into what we can do with technology. We have one more gem for you below.

The Backslide / Moonwalk

Ok, we’re kind of cheating with this one because wheels make this infinitely easier to do than actual feet. However, the motion of Handle’s neck / arm is particularly reminiscent of the late, great Michael Jackson

Ever since Bill Bailey performed this move at The Apollo in 1955, this is surely one of the most recognised dances in modern history. By the way, here’s 5 tips to help you improve in dance.

The Dancer’s Perspective

Boston Dynamics have created a piece of visual art which doubtlessly inspire many to give dance a go. I mean, if a ROBOT can do it, why can’t you? 🙂

Work of this nature provokes a number of different questions:

  • Will robots be programmable to help people learn physical movements in the future?
  • Does robotics have a place in the future of visual and physical art?
  • If Spot is available to buy for $74500, when will these amazing machines be available for the average consumer to purchase?

We don’t know the answer to these questions, but will expand on one or two of these ideas in a future post.

Thanks for reading and thanks Boston Dynamics for inspiring us,

Damien Anyasi,

B-Better Team

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