Originally created 08/29/96

Macarena's a home run in America's ballparks Step-by-step Macarena

It's sort of a cross between the Wave and the Hokey Pokey.

The Macarena (ma-ka-RAY-na), the line-dance craze that has swept nightclubs across America, has recently become a major league hit.

Baseball, that is.

Yankee Stadium. The Kingdome.

Earlier this month, the Seattle Mariners held Macarena night and 37,576 people did the dance. The New York Yankees broke that record Aug. 17 when 51,729 fans took part in America's second-favorite pastime.

Even Augusta GreenJackets fans are beginning to get into the act.

When the first electronic pulses of La Macarena punctured the still summer air at Lake Olmstead Stadium last week, Beverly McClellan and Tracy Dover abandoned their Cellular One booth near the main gate and rushed up to the stadium to dance.

Right arm out. Left arm out. Palms up. Palms down. They looked like synchronized swimmers without the pool and nose-plugs.

"It's easy," said Ms. McClellan, who learned the dance at Chevy's nightclub about six weeks ago. "It's probably one of the easiest ones there is."

The Macarena is good news for the rhythmically challenged. Unlike the hustles and electric slides before it, the Macarena is low on footwork. There are lots of arm movements, but the pace is so slow it's like Grease's hand jive on a couple of Valium. All you really need to know is your right from your left.

This Sesame Street simplicity has created Macarena madness at everything from slumber parties to the Olympics.

Haven't seen it yet? You will.

Aiken's Jennifer Strohmeier, 10; her father, Steve; and her brother Stephen, 7, learned the Macarena on CNN.

Augusta's Ethan Butler, 6, learned it at a cousin's wedding in Greenville, S.C.

Ashleigh Newkirk, 11, learned it in day camp at the Wheeler Road YMCA. "We do it at the Stardust skating rink," she said.

Before it was a dance, Macarena was a song. The group Los Del Rio recorded La Macarena - a song about a flirtatious party girl - in 1993. But the group's electronic remix with the Bayside Boys is the version that has people from coast to coast shaking their hips and crossing their arms like I Dream of Jeannie.

"It's the line dance for noncountry people," said Jamie Yorio, 21, of North Augusta. She and her friends Natasha Hendrix, 26, and Elizabeth Anderson, 21, jumped out of their season ticketholders' seats in "The Hive" section when they heard the first techno notes of La Macarena at a GreenJackets doubleheader on Aug. 20.

Ms. Hendrix learned the dance while on spring break in Daytona Beach, Fla.

"It was huge," she said. "Everyone was doing it."

Not exactly everyone was doing it at the GreenJackets game. Out of a crowd of 2,805, only about two dozen were dancing.

"Don't let them fool you," Ms. Hendrix said. "A lot of people know the Macarena dance. They're just not brave enough to get up and do it."

Or maybe they weren't warmed up yet.

J.J. Scalise, 25, was part of a group of 20-something males who groaned when they heard the Macarena played during the first game of the doubleheader. But by the second game, with a stack of empty Two-for-Tuesday beer cups in his hand, his lips and limbs seemed to be loosened.

"Heeeeeey Margarita!" he shouted whenever the chorus came around, and demonstrated the moves for his friends.

"I got the instructions with the CD," he explained.

Jacqui Fowler, 26, learned the Macarena from her niece Ashleigh but wouldn't mind a few more lessons.

"I wish they would get out there and do it," she said pointing to the baseball field. "You know, show us how. That would be fun."

The GreenJackets don't have any plans for a Macarena night.

"Not a lot of people have requested it," said Jennifer Evans, assistant promotions director.

Frank Mercogliano, director of musical programming at the stadium, said right now it's a battle between La Macarena and YMCA.

With only one home game left in the regular season (Monday night's season finale with fireworks), there might not be enough time for the phenomenon to take hold in Augusta.

But there's always next summer. And by then the Macarena may have evolved into something completely different.

"There's a lot of different patterns," said Ms. Hendrix. "There's a basic foundation, and people alter it. There's no wrong way to do the Macarena. You just go with the flow."

Doin' the Macarena

1. Right arm forward, palm down.
2.Left arm forward, palm down.
3.Turn right palm up.
4.Turn left palm up.
5.Right hand on left shoulder.
6.Left hand on right shoulder.
7.Right hand behind head.
8.Left hand behind head.
9.Right hand on behind.
10.Left hand on behind.
11.Sway three times.
12.Jump quarter turn to left and start again.


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