From the ’80s era of moonwalking and Thriller to flossing in 2018, everyone has their favorite dance moves. But what makes a dance a popular one? INSIDER takes a look at the most popular dances in history, from the Charleston and the jitterbug to the gangsta walk and beyond.
The tango may have originated in the 18th century, but it was never a mainstream dance until the movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” made the Time Warp dance scene a bona fide fad in 1975. The dance’s popularity was fueled by an obsessive fan base that still goes to see the film in full costume today.
A number of different dances rose to prominence in the 1920s, thanks to the rise of prohibition-era jazz music. The Charleston, a fast-paced dance that required the use of a partner, became popular after it was used in a Broadway musical called Runnin’ Wild and continued to be popular through the 1930s.
The Lindy Hop, a more sophisticated couples dance that builds on the twists of the Charleston, was also created during this era. This dance was favored by flappers and later embraced by WWII-era swing bands.
Aside from the aforementioned styles, other popular dances include the hippie spin (made famous by the legions of Grateful Dead fans who call themselves Deadheads) and the jerk (created in 2006 by rapper Soulja Boy with his debut single, “Crank That.” The jerk involves swaying your body like you’re riding on a bicycle, accompanied by flailing arms.