The answer to this question is somewhat similar to the answer to rock'n'roll, in that Rockabilly primarily refers to a particular unique style of music which developed mostly between 1955 and 1959 and has maintained its style ever since without evolving into something similar but different as rock'n'roll has evolved into rock. Rockabilly music retains its original stylings even through the 1980's Rockabilly revival driven mainly by the Stray Cats and Shakin' Stevens, although there are many many others. [Click here for a sample]

We're here to talk about dancing, however, so - What's different about Rockabilly dancing?

LOTS.

The biggest difference is that, unlike almost every other dance you can think of, rockabilly is NOT a linear dance [i.e. danced in a slot or along a line of dance], it is a rotary dance [i.e. the follower generally assumes a position and the leader moves around her] And it is not always done the same way on every continent. For instance, rockabilly dance is generally similar in Australia and UK, but has some distinct differences in USA. It should not be confused with 'Cafe Rock' which dancers usually dance to rockabilly music, but are simply dancing rock'n'roll, but holding on the 2 rockstep beats and not doing a rockstep. [Try this link for some real Perth style rockabilly dancing] 

For UK rockabilly click here. Note that not all of the dancers are dancing rockabilly. See if you can pick who's doing rockabilly, who is not and who's doing a mixture.

For American style rockabilly click here. You'll see it's quite different to Australian & UK Rockabilly

Many youtube videos claiming to be of dancers dancing Rockabilly are just videos of dancers dancing rock'n'roll or jive or swing to Rockabilly music. True Rockabilly dancing can be done at tempos above those which normally accommodate other dance styles. [Talking here about faster than Rock Around The Clock at 45 bars per minute up to Rockabilly Rebel at 56 bars and even faster] It takes some time to develop the ability and technique to dance at those speeds, but it can be done!

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