ONLY DANCE I KNOW, THE

Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin
Here’s Berlin in 1962, 54 years after “Sadie Salome,” still playing out the stereotypes of the Oriental dancing girl: the belly dancer is from Siam; “Egyptian, Persian, there’s only one version”–all orientalism is the same; the Egyptian Mummy/Mommy; the shimmy shakes along the way; then the updating twists at the end: references to Arthur Murray, the ballroom dance teacher of the masses, and the surrey with the fringe on top from “Oklahoma!”

Musically, we still have the tom-tom beats in the accompaniment and the old “cooch” line (Oh, they don’t wear pants….”) in the verse [“It was done like this”], with the modulation to the major key for the chorus.

My youth was spent in the Orient Where they never taught you to waltz.
You’d be surprized when I exercize It was never done to a waltz.
It was done like this, But never to a waltz.

CHORUS:
In ancient Siam women like I am
Indoors or in the street,
No woman dances with her feet.
Egyptian, Persian, only one version
No other stands a chance,
Feet are for walking, not for dance.

To an Oriental fiddle
You can see them shake their middle,
The feet don’t mean a thing,
Middles are all they swing!
Even an Egyptian mummy wiggles her tummy,
Wiggles it so and so,
That is the only dance I know.

You don’t need an Arthur Murray
Just the fringe that’s on a surrey,
We’ll satisfy your needs,
Dancing between the beads.
Ev’rybody shake your torso,
Sexy, but moreso,
Shake it, Come on, let’s go,
Let’s do the only the dance I know.

ONLY DANCE I KNOW, THE