Go-Go dancers are dancers who are employed to entertain crowds at a discotheque. Go-go dancing originated in the early 1960s when women at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City began to get up on tables and dance the twist. There were many 1960s-era miniskirted clubgoers who wore what came to be called go-go boots to night clubs, so night club promoters in the mid 1960s conceived the idea of hiring them to entertain the patrons.
The term Go-Go derives from the phrase "go-go-go" for a high-energy person, and was influenced by the French expression à gogo, meaning "in abundance, galore", which is in turn derived from the ancient French word la gogue for "joy, happiness
Go-go dancing in the 1960sOn 19 June 1964, Carol Doda began go-go dancing topless (after having had her breasts implanted with silicone to enlarge them) at the Condor Club on Broadway and Columbus in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. She became the world's most famous go-go dancer, dancing at the Condor for 22 years.
Go-go dancers began to be hired on a regular basis at the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in the Los Angeles area in July 1965. The Whisky a Go Go was also the first go-go club to have go-go cages suspended from the ceiling (they were there from the very beginning in 1965), and thus the profession of cage dancer was born.
The phrase Go-Go was adopted by bars in the 1960s in Tokyo, Japan. It was of lesser reputation until it was abandoned by a majority of clubs and appropriated by burlesque and striptease establishments, which in turn became known as go-go bars and the women working there known as Go-Go dancers. During the Vietnam War there were many go-go bars in Saigon, South Vietnam to entertain U.S. troops. A synonym used in Vietnam for go-go dancers is table dancer.
Go-go dancing on TVHullabaloo was a musical variety series that ran on NBC from January 12, 1965 through August 29, 1966. The Hullabaloo Dancers—a team of four men and six women—appeared on a regular basis. Another female dancer, model/actress Lada Edmund Jr. was best known as the caged "go-go girl" dancer in the Hullabaloo A-Go-Go segment near the closing sequence of the show. Other dance TV shows during this period such as ABC's Shindig! also featured go-go dancers in cages. Sometimes these cages were made of clear plastic with lights strung inside of them; sometimes the lights were synchronized to go on and off with the music. Shivaree!, another music show, usually put go-go dancers on scaffolding and on a platform behind the band which was performing. Each show of the period had a particular method of bringing the go-go dancers into camera view.
The tradition of go-go dancers on TV music shows continues around the world, such as the Viva Hotbabes and SexBomb Girls in the Philippines. However, while American shows of the 1960s featured dancers highly trained in the various choreography each show used, many modern dancers are not so closely choreographed.