And you thought the hamster dance was memorable...

In the build-up to the 2002 German elections, the Bundesdance took the country by storm, probably because it was more glamorous and funny than any of the candidates. Behind the serious headlines of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, at (reachable via if you can navigate in German), a world of electro-political whimsy awaits. The name, of course, is a pun on the ancestral hamster dance and the Bund (German Federation).

What it is (probably was, by the time you read this) is a Flash application that makes the six main party leaders dance at your command. It's corny, it's cheesy, it's a you have to see it to believe it thing. Even those unaware of the fact that Germany exists as a country, is a republic and is holding elections will appreciate the, umm, art involved even though the underlying humour is fundamentally German. Select three of the candidates and set the following parameters on the control panel:

  • Level of upper body movement, ranging from discreet shaking to frantic flailing of arms.
  • Level of lower body movement, varying between foot-tapping, mild hip gyration and all-out Austin Powers madness.
  • Classic and modern lighting effects.
  • One of several different backdrops.
  • One of three tunes, including the "official" Gerd@Work Bundesdance song. All of them are terrible electronica that make Kraftwerk's worst look good.
  • One Berlin landmark. Options include the Reichstag, the Wall and the Siegessäule.
  • A background crowd, options including welfare recipients, the national football team, and East Germans (complete with Trabant). I'd say that the discorporate airline pilots made for the best effect.
  • A set of five samples of each candidate's voice.

Now step back and watch them dance until your computer can't take it anymore and self-destructs.

The Bundesdance is an abomcreation of Munich-based "new media" outfit Herburg Weiland. I don't want to contemplate what they'll come up with for the 2006 elections.