In addition to the traditional dances taught in dance classes, there are a lot of popular moves that crop up on their own. These often are inspired by a song that catches on. Then, just like the Macarena or the Twist, these moves become fads that people of all ages and sexes suddenly can’t stop doing.
One of the first big fad dances to hit the mainstream was the Charleston, which took its name from the harbor city in South Carolina. It became famous in the 1920s when a new kind of jazz music was emerging with syncopated beats and rolicking ragtime piano. Suddenly, it seemed everyone wanted to shed the stuffy etiquette of their parents’ generation and flap their arms, kick up their heels and let loose.
Another fad dance that made its mark in the ’20s was the quickstep, which entered its heyday with performers like Cab Calloway. It was a fast-paced ballroom dance that incorporated the foxtrot with a bit of the Charleston.
The 2000s saw a flood of hip hop, rap and R&B that spawned a few dance crazes. The Dougie is one example, with its bouncy body rolls and simple moves that can be done in the middle of a room with minimal space. But the hottest of these crazes might have been the Memphis Jookin’, a line dance that originated in West Tennessee and saw its biggest resurgence in the 2010s with artists like G-Nerd, Lil Black and LaShonte.