Dance is an art form that spans countless styles, from ballet and tap to hip-hop. Each style has its own unique steps and techniques, but there are a few moves that have become so popular that they’re recognized worldwide.
For example, Michael Jackson’s iconic moonwalk made him a global pop culture icon. But he wasn’t the first to master the gravity-defying move that resembles walking backward. Tap dancing, created by enslaved Africans in the United States, became popular in the 1920s Prohibition era and took the world by storm a few years later.
The fad dances of the 1920s and 1930s showcased the alluring sexuality of flapper women in their energetic dancing and alluring outfits. Many film stars of the era including Clara Bow appeared in films with dance scenes that displayed this new and exciting way to express oneself.
Disco spawned its own share of dance fads, like the Madison and the Mashed Potato (made famous by Dee Dee Sharpe’s hit song). The Electric Slide is another large line-style dance that is still a staple of barrooms. The swing dance, favored by the likes of Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Count Basie during the big band era of the 1920s, was a freewheeling dance unlike any that came before it. The swing dance incorporated the Lindy Hop but then jazzed it up with lifts, flips and other death-defying aerial movements.
The breakdancing style that became popular in the 1980s is also known as Locking and Popping, although it’s a bit inaccurate to call it Hip Hop. Breaking was developed in the streets of the Bronx, and grew into a mainstream phenomenon after the release of movies such as Wild Style, Style Wars and Beat Street.