How many times have you done the Cupid Shuffle at functions this summer? Ever wonder how the line dance was created before it eventually swept the nation? Well, NewsOne talked with the dance’s creator, Cupid, and got his inspiring story.
“I was a 19-year-old Blues singer touring with the SOS Band and Lenny Williams when I recorded the song,” Cupid told NewsOne. “Everywhere we would go, before we’d start the show, we’d get the crowd going with a line dance. I saw how the crowd was reacting and I wanted to create a modern-day line dance.”
Cupid says he went into the studio with intentions of creating a line dance classic with no genre and that “everyone could dance to.” And he didn’t plan the song, but freestyled the verses.
“I came up with the dance in the studio as I was making up the song,” he says, incredibly.
Within no time, the “Cupid Shuffle” picked up steam on Youtube with tons of views. Six months later, Cupid signed a record deal with Atlantic Records. He says he knew from the beginning that the song would be a success. Having toured the country, he recognized the size of the line dance community and believed in the power and energy of his song.
“There’s a huge community of people who like to line dance,” Cupid says. “From the West Coast to Philly to the South, there’s an underground culture that’s very active. Now people are starting to see it come into its own because songs like mine are bringing attention to it. What I knew from the beginning, though, is that these songs help to liven up the party and, in this day and age when people don’t like to dance, it works to get them on the floor.”
Watch Cupid teach his Cupid Shuffle line dance below and talk about his “CuRobicks” exercises.
Cupid has also developed a fitness program based on line dancing. He says, for people averse to traditional aerobics, it’s a great workout that’s fun and familiar. The program “CuRobicks” was debuted at this year’s Essence Festival in New Orleans.
Seven years later, Cupid’s career and the “Shuffle” are still thriving.
Today’s he’s called on often to write and produce for other artists. Of course his tour dates pick up, however, when the weather heats up and folks are ready to dance at festivals, reunions and other parties. And Cupid says the success of his song has created some special career highlights for him.
“In Disney World, there’s a part of the park where all of the classic characters jump in line and start to dance. They do the Cupid Shuffle,” he says.Another highlight? In 2008, Cupid broke the Guinness Book of World Record for the largest line dance ever assembled by shuffling with 17,000 people.
Finally, he says, he was especially honored to have his song and dance recognized in the White House.
For her “Let’s Move” campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama has combated childhood obesity nationally by encouraging fitness through dance, and one of the songs she’s picked to get kids moving is the “Cupid Shuffle.”
“I’m really proud to know the music I’m making has a purpose and that means something to so many people,” Cupid says. “One of my favorite artists is Frankie Beverly. Once, he told me that my song is for me what ‘Before I Let Go’ is for him, it’ll just go on and on.”