“The Hootchy-Kootchy Dance”


"There's a place in France/Where the women wear no pants" and similar bawdy verses. Cho: "Do what your mama says and do what your papa says/But don't split your pants, doin' the hootchy-kootchy dance"


Yes, you know it. This is the piece that is *always* used in a cartoon as the music when anything having to do with Arabia, Egypt, belly dancing, snake charming or Muslims in general is depicted. Originally a Tin Pan Alley song, popular at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where exotic dancers adopted it instantly; Sol Bloom, entertainment director at the Exposition, claimed he wrote it, but it has also been connected to traditional tunes in Iraq and Algeria. The title usually associated with the tune is "The Streets of Cairo." (See http://www.shira.net/streets-of-cairo.htm for more history.) It's a tune nearly everyone in America knows, and many older Americans (and maybe kids?) know the "women wear no pants" verse. A folk song if ever there was one. - PJS

Cross references

  • cf. "Bonaparte's Retreat" (sometimes used as a C part for that tune)


  • Anonymous singer "The Hootchy-Kootchy Dance" (on Unexp1)


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1893
Found in: US