by Mark Nobes, chief editor

The music video for the one hit wonder "The Safety Dance" was notable for its British medieval imagery, including Morris dancers, a maypole, and a dwarf dressed as a jester (played by Mike Edmonds). It's certainly one of the more bizarre pop videos to be released during the 80s, although the decade had its fair share of unusual videos, and they were generally more imaginative back then than they are these days.

Directed by Tim Pope, it was filmed in the village of West Kington, near Bath, UK. Ivan Doroschuk is the only member of the band to actually perform in the video.

The identity of the bouncy blonde girl in the video remained a mystery until 2013, when she was finally identified as the journalist and once editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, Louise Court. She became an editor at Best magazine in 1994, and had previously worked for the Express newspaper, Prima and Woman's Own magazines. She did not actually sing on the song, and is miming to vocals by Anne Dussault.

The Morris Dance side performing in the video was Chippenham Town Morris dancers from Wiltshire.

Released in the UK in September 1983, and featuring on the album Rhythm Of Youth, the song peaked at No.6 and was the only Top 40 hit for Men Without Hats. However, in Canada the band had six hits, with Pop Goes The World being their biggest, reaching #2 and also reaching #20 in the US.

The Safety Dance 12

What the heck is a Safety Dance, exactly?

Well, that's a question I've been wanting to know the answer to since the 80s. "Safety dance" refers to dancing in a club or disco in what is perceived to be a "safe" manner by the staff/bouncers. The lyrics were penned by the band's frontman Ivan Doroschuk, and refer back to a time when he was ejected from a night club in Ottawa, by a bouncer. He was pogo dancing to the B-52's "Rock Lobster", which is the punk rock style dance in which the participant jumps up and down while keeping their arms and legs ridged. 
The lyrics are a protest for the freedom to dance "how you want to", and are aimed at club bouncers who prevent people from participating in new age dancing, because they believe they will be a danger to other dancers. At the time when Ivan was kicked out of the nightclub, punk and new age music was overtaking disco in popularity.
The brother of Ivan and the band's guitarist, Stefan Doroschuk, stated that the lyrics are generally about "nonconformism".  


UK 7" Vinyl - Statik Records (STAT 24)

A. The Safety Dance - 2:45

B. Security - 4:01

UK 12" Vinyl (TAK 1-12)

A. The Safety Dance (Extended Club Mix) - 4:32

B1. I Got The Message - 4:44

B2. Antarctica - 3:28