Pop on “The Macarena,” the spicy, hip-swinging song and dance of the mid-1990s, at a wedding reception or party this weekend, and folks still will rush the dance floor — much like the 1996 National Democratic Convention in Chicago’s United Center when delegates danced, danced, danced to the hopping tune. Vice President Al Gore was renominated to run for office and danced — in his own stiff, standing-still manner — to the Macarena.

The song by Los Del Rio, Antonio Romeo Monge and Rafael Ruiz, a Spanish flamenco-pop duo, was originally released on a local label in Spain in 1993, where it did fairly well. The American label BMG bought the Spanish label, marketed an English-language version to dance clubs and cruise ships, and released released it as a single in 1995, according to songfacts.com.

In the heat of summer in 1996, the Macarena became an American dance craze. The song went to #1 in July and stayed there for 14 weeks, says songfacts.com

A few fun Macarena facts from songfacts.com :

  • Macarena is a female name that means "Mother of God."
  • "La Macarena" is one of eight sections (known as "quarters") of Seville, Spain.
  • The song was inspired on the duo's  trip to Venezuela when they spotted flamenco dancer Diana Patricia. When the song became a hit, the dancer became known in Venezuela as "Macarena."
  • The U.S. single was a remix by a Miami-based production team,The Bayside Boys.
  • The meaning of the song changes depending on what mix you are listening to. In the original version, Macarena is upset because her boyfriend, Vitorino, has joined the army. She retaliates by going out on the town and carousing with other men.
  • In the Bayside Boys mix, Macarena gets mad at her boyfriend and goes out to shake it while he's out of town. In this version, she seems to be more promiscuous. The chorus translates to English as: "Give your body joy, Macarena, that your body is to give joy and good things."
  • The world record for the most people performing one dance at the same time was set by 50,000 people in Yankee stadium while dancing the "Macarena."

Dancing the Macarena is fairly easy as long as you know your left from your right. And even if you don’t you’ll catch on. Here are the dance instructions, from Shepherd University in West Virginia, no less:

  • Beat 1: Right arm straight out, in front of you, palm down.
  • Beat 2: Left arm straight out, in front of you, palm down.
  • Beat 3: Right arm straight out, in front of you, palm up.
  • Beat 4: Left arm straight out, in front of you, palm up.
  • Beat 5: Right hand grasps inside of the left arm, at the elbow.
  • Beat 6: Left hand grasps inside of the right arm, at the elbow.
  • Beat 7: Right hand behind right back of neck.
  • Beat 8: Left hand behind left back of neck.
  • Beat 9: Right hand on left-front pocket.
  • Beat 10: Left hand on right-front pocket.
  • Beat 11: Right hand on right-back pocket.
  • Beat 12: Left hand on left-back pocket.
  • Beat 13: Move your hips to the left.
  • Beat 14: Move your hips to the right.
  • Beat 15: Move your hips to the left.
  • Beat 16: Clap and turn 90 degrees to the right.

To get you up and dancing, we've posted Los Del Rio and The Bayside Boys remix.