The dance has been generally done to Ray Anthony's big band recording of the song with this name. It was a vocal hit in 1952, and instrumentally re-recorded c. 1958. The song has been re-recorded by others, including musical updates of the style, for example, a Salsa version. Duke Ellington recorded "Bunny Hop Mambo" in 1954. Other popular music of the era is also used, such as "The Glow-Worm."
The dance is a variation on a conga line. Participants dance in a line or a circle, holding on to the hips of the person in front of them. They tap the floor two times with their right foot, then with their left foot, then they hop forwards, backwards, and finally three hops forward to finish the sequence, which continues throughout the tune. The first person in the line or the open circle leads the group around the floor.
The Finnish dance Letkajenkka has essentially the same steps.
In 2014 in Saudi Arabia, the same dance set to slightly different music (referred to as "raqsat al-batriq", the "penguin dance") became a popular trend on online video-sharing sites and a staple at wedding dance parties.
In popular culture
Allan Sherman listed the bunny hop as "a very nice dance" at the coda of his parody "Crazy Downtown," along with older dances such as the tango and waltz (as opposed to modern dances such as The Frug).
The Bunny Hop is shown in the pilot episode of Family Ties when Alex attends a country club event and mentioned again in the episode "Karen II, Alex 0".
In the Newhart episode "I Love You, Butt...", hotel guests dance to the Bunny Hop in the lobby area.
- "New Pop Records", Time Magazine, January 26, 1953
- "Penguin Dance, Goofy Wedding Staple, Sweeps Saudi Arabia", The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2014
- "“Penguin Dancing” Meme Takes Saudi Arabia By Storm", BuzzFeed, April 12, 2014 (retrieved December 21, 2015)