There were so many elements that went into an episode of Shindig: performers, musicians, camera work, lighting, directing and one of the things that set Shindig apart from all the other musical variety shows: The Shindig Dancers.
This troupe of 11 performed some of most eye-popping routines ever captured fro television. I was immediately struck with the fact that the dance moves here looked nothing like I'd seen before. Most prime-time music shows from the era seemed to feature dance routines that had nothing in common with rock 'n' soul music. The moves always seemed to be geared more toward Broadway or what I guess I'd call classic stage dance.
The great irony of it all is that Shindig's great dance routines that seemed perfectly suited to rock, pop and soul came from dancers who danced ballet, classical, and other formal types of dance. Ever seen the movie "West Side Story"? Those dances came from Andre Tayir. Andre Tayir was the choreographer for Shindig. And dancers Maria Jimenez Henley (who also choreographed with Andre for the show) and Gina Trikinis also were in "West Side Story."
Their work on Shindig was really something new. They seemed to combine the classical discipline of ballet and Broadway with moves taken from popular dances like The Pony, The Jerk and other dances of the time I'm assuming. However they came up with those moves, they were so distinct, I've yet to see anything nearly as good on any other rock television show.
Check out the move near the end where the ladies crouch down, one leg extended and perform a sort of "Whipping" motion. How they could do that without falling over is beyond me. Excellent optical illusion too with the black and white dresses against the black and white background.