This article is from the Ska FAQ, by Tomas Willis firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Skanking is the *canonical* ska dance. Being canonical doesn't make
it the only or One True ska dance; it is, however, the standard dance
these days. Skanking involves angular pumping of legs and arms, with
knees and elbows bent. Mike Fragrassi (I think) described this a
rythmic "herking and jerking."
The original *official* ska dance was called "*The Ska*." This dance
originated in Jamaica and was the dance one did at ska shows. It is
not as punk-influenced as contemporary skanking. Jeremy D. Mushlin,
JDM7548@acfcluster.nyu.edu, described it as:
Not like jamming your elbow to your opposite knee back and forth,
but sort of like the milk-the-cow, do the monkey sort of thing ...
Guido van Breda has turned up a great series of still shots of
*Ronnie and Jeanette* - *the couple who taught New York the Ska*, who
visited the 1964 World's Fair in New York with Jamaican musicians Byron
Lee and The Dragonaires, Jimmy Cliff and Prince Buster. Watch them
dance in the animated GIF, or check out the stills at
Hey! All you skankers and moshers: class up the joint and do The Ska!
Controversy now rages over the propriety of slamming, moshing,
body-passing and stage-diving at ska concerts. These dances, while
wildy popular with some, are reviled by most more traditional types.
However, Jay Vidheecharoen, email@example.com, wisely points
out that "*Stage diving on top of people who are skankin' isn't too