Dancing Baby, also known as Baby Cha-Cha and Oogachacka Baby, is a viral video of a 3D-rendered baby dancing to the intro of “Hooked on a Feeling” by the Swedish rock band Blue Swede. Widely cited as one of the earliest examples of an Internet phenomenon, the Dancing Baby became globally popular via e-mail chains in 1996.
The original "cha-cha" dance file was developed by Michael Girard and Robert Lurye. The source file (sk_baby.max) was released in Autumn 1996 as part of product sample source files included in Character Studio, a 3D character animation software by Kinetix/Autodesk. Ron Lussier, who was working for LucasArts at the time, tweaked the original file and shared it with coworkers via email, sparking the baby's internet travels:
I showed it to a few people and one of them asked me to forward it to them in e-mail. A week or so later I heard from fellow employees that the animation was traveling through the company via e-mail… then a bit later, I heard people say they had received it back again from people outside the company, across the country. From that it quickly traveled to the internet and became the strange phenomenon that it was.
In late 1996, web developer John Woodell created a highly compressed animated GIF from the source movie, as part of a demo of the movie-to-GIF process, which further enabled the spread of the "Dancing Baby" across the Internet.
The Unofficial Dancing Baby Homepage
In 1997, artist Rob Sheridan discovered the .avi file in a newsgroup and subsequently added the clip to the "funny stuff" section of his homepage according to a post published on his Patreon page in late January 2018. In the post, Sheridan claims he was inundated with emails requesting the file, leading him to create "The Unofficial Dancing Baby Home Page" featuring various remixes of the video (shown below).
The following year, Sheridan was interviewed in a segment on the Seattle news station K5 News, where he discussed the creation of the homepage (shown below).
Over the next year, a slew of modified editions were made by fans across the world, including "Kung Fu baby", "Rasta baby" and "Samurai baby." In 1998, the baby began appearing as a recurring hallucination on the TV comedy-drama series Ally McBeal (shown below).
In December, the online retailer Crash Designs began selling Dancing Baby merchandise. In December 2000, a parody of the Dancing Baby was featured in Season 12 Episode 6 of The Simpsons titled "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes," in which Homer Simpsons visits a website highlighting an animation of Jesus Christ dancing like the baby (shown below).
On January 15th, 2006, the original "Oogachaka Baby" video was uploaded to YouTube, where it gathered upwards of 3.3 million views and 1,300 comments over the next 11 years. On February 24th, 2013, YouTuber Truebones uploaded footage a computer animation of a baby performing the "Gangnam Style" dance.
On February 7th, 2020, Twitter user @JArmstrongArty shared an HD remaster of the dancing baby recreated from the original model of the character (shown below). The post received more than 5,400 likes and 2,200 retweets in less than one week.
HOW I RE-DISCOVERED THE MODEL FOR 'THE DANCING BABY', RE-RENDERED THE ORIGINAL MEME IN HD, AND PORTED IT TO GMOD: A THREAD (1/11)
(Mod: https://t.co/aE6Wse2tWN , YT: https://t.co/6fOjisXXMz) pic.twitter.com/J0ASNxncdB
— JArmstrongArt (@JArmstrongArty) February 7, 2020
As illustrated in the chart, the meme’s popularity has been steadily declining in search queries throughout the 2000s. The term "Dancing Baby" peaked in both September 2009 and June 2010, but referred to viral YouTube videos of actual babies dancing. Tribute sites still remain to this day, such as megababy.com.
 Dancing-Baby.net – Welcome to the home of the original internet dancing baby!