Whether you’re into ballet, tap dance or modern dance, there is a style that speaks to you. Popular dances come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from one hit wonder crazes to long-lasting favorites. The popularity of certain dances, though, is largely dependent on the music and culture that inspires it.
When jazz dance music gained popularity in the 1920s, a new genre of dancing was born. This game-changing era produced dances like the Lindy Hop, Jitterbug and the Charleston. These wild couples dances developed in underground African American juke joints during Prohibition and helped challenge racial segregation.
During the turbulent 1930s and 1940s, America needed a stress relief outlet. As a result, many different dance styles rose to prominence and found their home in the ’40s. During this era, ballrooms and dance halls were packed with people twirling their way to the chorus of The Charleston or showing off fancy footwork in the form of the Mambo. Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers showcased their talents in a time that would be known as The Golden Age of Swing.
The 1950s gave birth to the hand jive, which probably owes its worldwide fame to the movie “Grease.” However, this style of clapping and fist-rolling was actually created out of necessity on dance floors that were getting too crowded with the popular rock ‘n’ roll that was taking over radio airwaves at the time. The dance combines aspects of Forro, salsa, merengue, maxixe and the carimbo into an unforgettable fusion.