If you’ve ever been to a Tragically Hip concert, then I don’t need to tell you about the dancing prowess of the Kingston band’s frontman, Gord Downie. The singer commands the stage with such aplomb that his improvised antics are a major part of the show, completely transfixing the audience.

So, in celebration of the man and all his dance-like-no-one-is-watching epicness, we present our guide on how to dance like Gord Downie. To see individual moves from our guide, click through the gallery above, or to get it all in one handy sheet, click on the graphic below, illustrated by CBC Music’s Markus Wreland.

If you’re curious, a majority of the moves in our illustrated guide come from the video below, which is compiled from just one 2009 performance in Kitchener, Ont. One performance and yet it yields, easily, 100 or more separate dance moves; such is the spontaneous genius of one of the most captivating frontmen in Canadian music.


Who else could turn dropping a microphone on the ground into a full-on spear-fishing charade, complete with a wriggling microphone/fish (you can see that at around the 1:10 mark on this video from an Edmonton show, also in 2009)?

The only criticism you could even possibly come up with is that the awesomeness of Downie’s dance moves threatens to overshadow the rest of the show, because you know nobody is even hearing music anymore when Downie starts dancing the Kingston Jig, seamlessly transitioning to a handkerchief prance, then spinning around the mic stand like an eight-year-old girl in her bedroom dancing to Britney Spears for the first time ever (See embedded video above, around the 1:30 mark). Not that we're complaining.

Feel free to print off our guide, share it with your friends, study the moves and get practising in time for Canada Day. The Hip, who usually play a Canada Day concert somewhere in the country, may be celebrating in London, England, this year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the coolest moves at the cottage party for whenever “Bobcaygeon” comes on.

Enjoy, and let us know in the comments below what you think some of these illustrated moves should be named.  

Follow Jesse Kinos-Goodin on Twitter: @JesseKG.

posted by Jesse Kinos-Goodin on Jun 20, 2013