TikTok’s Neon Moon Dance Challenge Explained

Neon Moon dance challenge
Photo via @joelbushby

A new dance challenge has taken over TikTok “for you” pages everywhere, helping to introduce a new generation of users to a ’90s song that many people had all but forgotten.

TikTok trends often help musical tracks reach previously unexpected levels of recognition. Numerous artists have seen their songs rocket to popularity after TikTok gets ahold of them, creating an interesting relationship between the popular video-sharing app and the year’s top tracks. 

Even occasional TikTok users will recognize the latest song to find a foothold on the app. It’s taken TikTok by storm, with literally hundreds of videos attempting the same simple dance to the tones of Brooks & Dunn. 

That’s right, a Brooks & Dunn song is dominating TikTok. The popular country duo never truly retired—they have a string of upcoming concerts in Nevada and across the East Coast capping off the year—but they aren’t nearly as recognizable in 2021 as they were in the early ’90s. In fact, a number of TikTok’s most avid users—the bulk of whom are between the ages of 16 and 24—have probably never heard of the musical duo.

The country band, which consists of Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, released their debut album in 1991. On that album, nestled comfortably between the mainstream country tones of “Cheating on the Blues” and “Lost and Found,” a single gem sat mostly unnoticed⏤until TikTok got ahold of it, that is. 

The last few months have seen “Neon Moon” become Brooks & Dunn’s most popular track by far, introducing a whole new generation to the classic country song and inspiring a simple, addicting dance challenge.

What is the “Neon Moon” dance challenge?

Dance challenges are nothing new to TikTok users. Whether or not you engage in them, anyone who uses TikTok with any frequency has scrolled past a few participants in one viral challenge or another. The “Neon Moon” challenge stands out among some of the other popular musical trends currently inundating the platform thanks to its honky-tonk inspired beat, simple and memorable accompanying dance moves, and addicting vocals. 

The song taking over TikTok isn’t exactly the same version of “Neon Moon” that appeared on that 1991 album. Instead, TikTokers are gently rolling their hips to a remix of the 20-year-old track from artist DJ Noiz. The song is extremely similar to the original, with just enough added synthesizers, drum beats, and warping to modernize it.

Entries in the “Neon Moon” dance challenge always begin the same way. A small portion of the song’s instrumental intro begins every TikTok, usually as individual users reveal the country-inspired outfit they’ve chosen to don for the challenge. A quick, sultry spin, paired with plenty of hip gyrating, sets the scene, before the song’s opening lyrics begin alongside the trend’s somewhat plain—but easy to remember—dance.

As Brooks & Dunn warble out “The sun goes down/ On my side of town/ That lonesome feeling/ Comes to my door,” users begin the simple dance. It involves slow, mirrored hand movements and plenty of the aforementioned hip waggling. Participants toss another spin—paired with yet another round of hip gyrating—as the lyrics move on to “The whole world turns,” without including the line’s final word, “Blue.” 

As far as TikTok challenges go, “Neon Moon” is exceedingly simple. The dance doesn’t include any moves that a layman participant would find challenging, meaning that pretty much anyone can attempt the dance and look good doing it. Not quite as good as these utterly ripped cowboys, to be fair, but you’ll look like a veteran line dancer in no time.