The Twist started out as a dance fad in 1959, but two years later Life Magazine wrote about a “dingy Manhattan nightspot named the Peppermint Lounge [that had] quickly became the most jammed joint in town.”
According to Life, “Before the Twist mania struck, The Peppermint Lounge was a rock ‘n’ roll hangout where kids went to do their favorite dances. Among these was the Twist, which is both a song and a dance. To the song’s insistent beat the partners rock back and forth on the balls of their feet while frantically twisting their hips. The partners never touch. Soon socialites, drawn by the pulsating 4-4 beat, began to drift into the lounge for Twisting. When their visits were reported by Society Columnist Igor Cassini the stampede really started. Soon the black-tie bunch was rubbing elbows with the leather-jacket crown, and the lounge became packed with celebrities.”
Zsa Zsa Gabor and Norman Mailer were photographed doing the Twist. Their imprimatur gave touchless dancing a legitimacy that struck the death knell for the traditional urban night club of the 1940s and 1950s.