A Breakdown of How to Do Monica and Ross’ Epic NYE ‘Friends’ Dance


Though fans don’t need a reason to stream Friends on repeat, the hit NBC comedy is ever-popular around the holidays with a slew of festive episodes. One holiday favorite (and, honestly, an all-time favorite) is Season 6’s “The One with the Routine,” which centers around the taping of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve

When Joey (Matt LeBlanc) snags several spots to the TV special because of his then-roommate, Janine (Elle Macpherson), he opens up the invitation to the other friends. 

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Monica (Courteney Cox) and Ross (David Schwimmer) jump at the chance to attend the taping, and they taunt their parents about getting to be on TV.

Once the group is there, however, they soon realize that the cameras are glued on actual dancers and model-types like Janine. 

After several unsuccessful attempts to get on camera, Ross devises a plan with Monica to perform “The Routine.” 

Source: HBO Max

Because it earned them Honorable Mention in the brother-sister dance category when they were in middle school, the two assume that doing the dance is a surefire way to get the camera’s attention.

If you want to learn “The Routine” for yourself and bring it into modern times on TikTok, then we’ll be there for you. We’re guiding you through all the moves so you can top the brother-sister duo in time for 2021. Grab a partner and get to filming!

Step 1: Get in the zone and get on beat.

The first essential order of business is to play “Trouble with Boys” by Loreta to really get in the spirit. Both the song and the episode are from 1999, which is considerably older than the average TikTok star, but that’s unimportant with regards to “The Routine.”

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OK, the real first step in “The Routine” takes place before it even begins — and it’s making sure that your partner is in the zone. Ross does this by pointing at Monica’s eyes before pointing at his own, and a short stare-off commences. After securing that they’re both ready, they share a quick nod. 

Once you and your partner have ensured that your eye contact is strong, get your timing ready by snapping on beat. 

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Step 2: Slap, Shimmy, Leapfrog, Chicken Dance

These terms don’t really go together, but that’s really the essence of “The Routine.” In the episode, Monica pretends to smack her brother a few times (and he reacts by snapping his neck in the direction of the slaps).

The slapper should then move in front of their partner. Both dancers should then place their hands on their thighs and shimmy with their shoulders in opposite directions. 

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After four shimmys, Monica and Ross then take on a leapfrog movement — Monica hits the ground on all fours, while Ross jumps over her. The person on the floor then pops up, and begins to shuffle to the side while mimicking the chicken dance (which is when you make your arms look like wings, and you begin to flap them up and down). The dancer who leaped also joins in and shuffles toward the other side. 

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Step 3: The Wave and Twirl

Next up in “The Routine” is another move that we all know — whether you’ve been to a sporting event or an awkward middle school dance. While standing side by side, the partners should simultaneously lift their outside arms and mimic wave rolls toward the inside. Once the two waves meet in the middle, the dancers should grab each other’s inside forearms. 

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One partner will then get pulled in via a typical twirl. The second partner will push the other person mid-twirl, back to the outside. 

To really seal the move, once the twirl is complete and the partners are side-by-side again, you need to put your outside hands up in the air.

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Step 4: The Cabbage Patch into the Moonwalk

Now that both dancers are side by side once again, the next step is to bring your hands to the middle of your stomach. Make them into fists, and move them in a circular motion like you’re stirring a pot. Both you and your partner should be stirring in the same circular direction. You may know this movement as the cabbage patch dance.

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After three complete stirs, begin to move your body to the side while doing the fourth stir. The partners should be facing in opposite directions, and the front of your body should be facing the outside. 

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You and your partner should begin moonwalking (aka sliding your feet in a backward motion without lifting them up) toward the center of the dance space. While your feet are shuffling, lift your hands up and down, one at a time. The movement should resemble the way that mummies seem to walk in horror films, with a bit more flair.

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Step 5: The Running Man into the Funky Chicken

After the moonwalk, both dancers should be facing one another from opposite sides. You should both then make your way toward the center by taking little hops forward, one foot at a time. After each landing, wait a beat before taking the next step.

When both you and your partner are meeting in the middle, tap your foot against their opposite foot. 

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Then, shuffle backwards and grab one of your ankles for the funky chicken dance. This is achieved by bringing your ankle toward the back of your thigh (which makes a chicken wing out of your leg). Place your free hand on your ear to make another wing with your arm. The move is complete by moving your arm and your leg back and forth at the same time.

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Step 6: Freestyle arm movements and stick that landing!

After the ever-difficult funky chicken effect is achieved, Monica and Ross move their arms in different motions. While Monica holds her hands in the air and brings them toward the center and out again several times, Ross instead crosses his down in front of his legs.

The two then set up for their big finale finish.

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Following their individual arm moves, Ross then points at Monica. He holds his arms out, and he prepares to catch her.

Monica ends “The Routine” by jumping up into her brother’s arms. 

The Geller siblings then hold their free arms in the air as a sign of victory. 

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Though Ross and Monica’s valiant efforts were only helpful in getting them on the bloopers reel, the quick nature of the dance makes it prime for TikTok success. 

You can watch the entire dance below to get a full sense of the completed sequence.

Friends is available to stream on HBO Max. 

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