The Frug

For other uses, see Frug (disambiguation).

The Frug (pronounced "froog") was a dance craze from the mid-1960s, which included vigorous dance to pop music.[1] It evolved from another dance of the era, the Chicken. The Chicken, which featured lateral body movements, was used primarily as a change of pace step while doing the Twist. As young dancers grew more tired they would do less work, moving only their hips while standing in place. They then started making up arm movements for the dance, which prompted the birth of the Swim, the Monkey, the Dog, the Watusi, the Mashed Potato, and the Jerk. The Frug is sometimes referred to as the Surf, Big Bea, and the Thunderbird.[2][3]

A perfect example of a Frug is found in the movie Sweet Charity (1969), which contains a number called "The Rich Man's Frug", a wildly energetic dance number comprising three "movements" ("The Aloof", "The Heavyweight" and "The Big Finish") that showcases director Bob Fosse's distinctive choreography style, particularly his creative use of unusual poses, gestures, and arm movements. The evolution of Frug also signified maturation of theatricality in Fosse's choreography, departing regimentation towards visual dissonance, where every dancer could perform their own moves.[4][5]

The Frug is mentioned prominently in Allan Sherman's 1965 song "Crazy Downtown," a parody of Petula Clark's "Downtown".

The B-52's 1978 song of 1960s beach party film references, "Rock Lobster", contains the line, "Everybody's rockin'; Everybody's fruggin' ".

In a song of the same name, "The Frug" is referenced by the band Rilo Kiley. It appeared on their debut album The Initial Friend E.P., the soundtrack to the movie Desert Blue, and the compilation album Rkives. It was performed on Season 1 Episode 9 of the television show Once and Again.

The Frug is one of the dances demonstrated in The Blues Brothers movie during the "Shake a Tail Feather" segment featuring Ray Charles.

In recent years

In his 2008 documentary Heart Like A Hand Grenade (officially released in 2015), independent filmmaker John Roecker spliced footage of "The Rich Man's Frug" (from Bob Fosse's 1969 movie Sweet Charity) in between 2004 footage of Green Day live in the studio. The choreography happens to sync up with audio of the band performing their nine-minute punk rock ballad "Jesus of Suburbia".

American indie rock band Rilo Kiley released a song called "Frug" in 1999.

Singer Beyoncé uses the dance craze as inspiration for the music video "Get Me Bodied". The video was inspired by the "Rich Man's Frug" dance scene from the film Sweet Charity.[6]

Similarly, the music video for Emma Bunton's 2004 single "Maybe" was inspired by the "Rich Man's Frug" dance scene.

English dance band Freemasons's music video for their 2008 single "When You Touch Me" was also inspired by the frug dance scene from Sweet Charity.

In 2008, Welsh singer Duffy used this dance in her fourth international single, "Rain on Your Parade".

The Frug was the inspiration for the name of the band, "The Frug" in Huntsville, TX.

In 1964, in "In the Red Light: A History of the Republican Convention in 1964," published in the November 1964 issue of Esquire, Norman Mailer wrote: "The American mind had gone from Hawthorne and Emerson to the Frug, the Bounce, and 'Walking the Dog', from The Flowering of New England to the cerebrality of professional football in which a quarterback must have not only heart, courage, strength and grace but a mind like an I.B.M. computer." The piece is collected in Mailer's Cannibals and Christians (1966).

In The Crying of Lot 49, author Thomas Pynchon includes a song that makes a direct lyrical reference to the dance ("I may be too fat to Frug,/But at least I ain't too slim to Swim.").

In Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode #1007 ("Track of the Moon Beast"), Crow refers to the dance, while the moon beast is dying, by saying: "The arrow caused him to frug."

On the crime-drama Law & Order, in the season-two opening episode "Confession," Detective Mike Logan states that his plans for the evening are to review case notes with his (soon to be killed) partner, Max Greevy, and then, he says, "I'm going frugging with Patsy Kelley."


  1. Angus Stevenson; Maurice Waite (18 August 2011). Concise Oxford English Dictionary: Book & CD-ROM Set. Oxford University Press. pp. 572–. ISBN 978-0-19-960110-3.
  2. Gayle Kassing (2007). History of Dance: An Interactive Arts Approach. Human Kinetics. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-7360-6035-6.
  3. Karen Lynn Smith (2010). Popular Dance: From Ballroom to Hip-hop. Infobase Publishing. pp. 137–. ISBN 978-1-4381-3476-5.
  4. Pamyla Alayne Stiehl (2008). The "Dansical": American Musical Theatre Reconfigured as a Choreographer's Expression and Domain. ProQuest. pp. 177–. ISBN 978-0-549-50848-9.
  5. Martin Gottfried (2003). All His Jazz: The Life & Death of Bob Fosse. Da Capo Press. pp. 181–. ISBN 978-0-306-81284-2.
  6. "Sweet Charity "Rich Man's Frug"". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-08-28.
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