Popular Dances of the 20th and 21st Centuries

Nov 12, 2023 Uncategorized

A few dance fads rise to become cultural revolutions, while others linger around for a short period of time and are forgotten with the passing of the years. From the 1920s Charleston to 2018’s flossing, INSIDER has picked out some of the most famous dancing trends that reached global popularity.

The Roaring Twenties brought about a boom in leisure, with many new dance opportunities opening up. Besides ballrooms and cabarets, dance was now available in hotel dance halls, speakeasies and local clubs. As a result, jazz dance music roared into popularity and spawned a range of new dances such as the Foxtrot and Lindy Hop. The latter combines the twists of the Charleston with the more structured, closed position of ballroom dance moves into a couples dance that is known for its spins and fast rhythms.

Other popular dances of this era included the rock ā€˜nā€™ roll shake and the jitterbug, an upbeat couples dance with natural hand movements. The jitterbug was particularly popular at jam band concerts of the 1960s, when hippies, fueled by psychedelic drugs, would twirl their bodies in a slow, vertigo-inducing tornado movement.

Today, some of the most popular dances include hip-hop ā€” which is performed to music that includes breaking, locking and freestyle dancing ā€” and salsa, a Caribbean and Latin American dance style that is usually a couple dance and emphasises rhythms and sensuality. Then there is pole dancing, which involves dancing with a vertical pole and requires muscle endurance and coordination.