It is unclear how the dance, which is performed to the tune Nutbush City Limits, became such a significant part of Australian culture, but its prevalence continues to grow.
One of Tina Turner’s early songs is popular in Australia, thus many Australians feel a connection to her.
As fans around the world lament the singer’s passing at the age of 83, many Americans recall learning the line dance to Nutbush City Limits, the 1973 song she performed with her then-husband and collaborator Ike.
There are several reasons why this is very odd.
Turner’s performances of the song never included the dance that has become so ubiquitous in Australia, and the song wasn’t even that popular, peaking at 14 in the 1970s and 16 in 1991.
New South Wales or Queensland primary schools may have inspired the dance.
Others, however, argue that it was never part of Australia’s educational curriculum and was instead propagated by individual teachers who copied what they saw in other institutions.
She told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2018: “We learned the Nutbush in elementary and high school. And I’ve probably danced it at every wedding I’ve attended since then.”
The nation’s most ardent Nutbush enthusiasts have set world records for the most individuals dancing.
At the Birdsville Big Red Bash in Queensland, 4,084 people danced to surpass the previous record.
A month later, another 3,700 people attended the performance at the Mundi Mundi Bash in Broken Hill, New South Wales. But they were unable to break the record.