Patti Smith - Dancing Barefoot - 1979

Patti Smith - Dancing Barefoot - 1979

Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot", released in 1979, is an iconic track that showcases the unique artistry of Patti Smith. It's a song that blends punk rock and poetry, creating a haunting and ethereal experience. In this module, you'll explore the story behind "Dancing Barefoot," its musical characteristics, and the legacy of Patti Smith as a pivotal figure in the punk rock movement.

Background of the Song

"Dancing Barefoot" was released on the Patti Smith Group's album "Wave." The song was co-written by Patti Smith and Ivan Kral, the band's guitarist. It has been widely acclaimed for its lyrical poetry and raw, emotional delivery. The song pays homage to Jeanne Hébuterne, the partner of the famous painter Amedeo Modigliani, and touches on themes of love, devotion, and surrender.

  1. Patti Smith: Learn about Patti Smith's life and her role in the punk rock movement.
  2. Wave Album: Explore the album that features "Dancing Barefoot."
  3. Jeanne Hébuterne: Discover the story of the woman who inspired the song.
  4. Amedeo Modigliani: Understand the connection between the artist and the song.

Musical Characteristics

The song is noted for its simple yet captivating guitar work, evocative lyrics, and Smith's passionate vocal performance. It represents a blend of punk rock's raw energy with poetic and melodic elements, making it stand out in the music scene of the late 1970s.

  1. Punk Rock: Delve into the genre that influenced "Dancing Barefoot."
  2. Poetry in Music: Explore the integration of poetic elements in music.
  3. 1970s Music Scene: Understand the musical landscape during the time of the song's release.

Quiz: Questions on the song

What inspired Patti Smith to write "Dancing Barefoot"? (Jeanne Hébuterne's devotion to Amedeo Modigliani) (!Smith's personal love story) (!A popular dance movement in the 1970s) (!The punk rock scene in New York City)

In which album is "Dancing Barefoot" featured? (Wave) (!Horses) (!Radio Ethiopia) (!Easter)

Who co-wrote "Dancing Barefoot" with Patti Smith? (Ivan Kral) (!Lenny Kaye) (!Bruce Springsteen) (!Tom Verlaine)

What genre best describes "Dancing Barefoot"? (Punk Rock with poetic elements) (!Classic Rock) (!Disco) (!Folk Music)

What theme is NOT prominent in "Dancing Barefoot"? (Dance styles of the 1970s) (!Love and devotion) (!Surrender) (!Emotional intensity)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What is Patti Smith also known for besides her music career? (Her work as a poet) (!Being a film actress) (!Her political activism) (!Designing album covers)

Which of these albums was Patti Smith's debut? (Horses) (!Wave) (!Radio Ethiopia) (!Easter)

In which city did Patti Smith become a prominent figure in the punk rock scene? (New York City) (!Los Angeles) (!London) (!Chicago)

With which famous musician did Patti Smith collaborate on the song "Because the Night"? (Bruce Springsteen) (!Bob Dylan) (!Mick Jagger) (!Lou Reed)

What is a characteristic feature of Patti Smith's performance style? (Her blending of rock music with poetry) (!Classical opera singing) (!Elaborate dance routines) (!Instrumental solos)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What does the lyric "I'm dancing barefoot, heading for a spin" in "Dancing Barefoot" symbolize? (Surrender and freedom) (!Literal dancing) (!Confusion and chaos) (!A new beginning)

Which of the following themes is central to "Dancing Barefoot"? (Love and devotion) (!Political activism) (!Nature and the environment) (!Urban life)

How does the song's lyric style contribute to its overall impact? (By creating a poetic and haunting atmosphere) (!Through direct and straightforward storytelling) (!By using complex and obscure language) (!Focusing on humor and lightheartedness)

The line "The plot of our life sweats in the dark like a face" is an example of what literary device? (Metaphor) (!Simile) (!Hyperbole) (!Personification)

Which of the following is NOT a lyrical feature of "Dancing Barefoot"? (Repetitive chorus) (!Evocative imagery) (!Emotional intensity) (!Spiritual undertones)


Create a memory game with matching pairs for this topic:

Patti Smith Punk Rock Poet
"Dancing Barefoot" Jeanne Hébuterne Inspiration
Wave Album 1979 Release
Ivan Kral Co-writer
"Because the Night" Bruce Springsteen Collaboration

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Create a playlist of songs that you think were influenced by Patti Smith's style.
  2. Write a Poem: Write a poem inspired by the themes in "Dancing Barefoot."


  1. Explore the Punk Scene: Research and present about the punk rock scene in New York City during the late 1970s.
  2. Album Review: Write a review of Patti Smith's album "Wave," focusing on its artistic and cultural significance.


  1. Music and Art Analysis: Analyze the influence of visual arts on Patti Smith's music, particularly focusing on the song "Dancing Barefoot."
  2. Interview Project: Conduct an interview with someone who experienced the punk rock era and share their insights about Patti Smith's impact.

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Oral Exam

  1. The Influence of Poetry in Music: Discuss how Patti Smith's background in poetry influenced her music, using "Dancing Barefoot" as a case study.
  2. The Evolution of Punk Rock: Analyze how Patti Smith's music, including "Dancing Barefoot," contributed to the evolution of punk rock.
  3. Cultural Impact of Patti Smith: Explore the cultural and social impact of Patti Smith's music, with a focus on "Dancing Barefoot."

OERs on the Topic


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