Popular Dances of the 20th Century

Dec 11, 2023 Uncategorized

Dance fads have been around as long as dance has, but the last century has produced amazing technological advances that have helped modern dance crazes spread worldwide faster and farther than ever before. From music videos to social media, dance fads have become a common way for people of all ages and nationalities to express themselves through movement.

Many of today’s most popular dances were born in Latin cities and countries, including the mambo, salsa, cha cha and rumba, and later adopted by American artists and audiences. Salsa, for example, is based on the Cuban son and has deep roots in the Dominican Republic as well.

In the 1920s, a new dance called the Charleston came on the scene, combining elements of ballroom dancing with the jitterbug, which was developed by African slaves who used percussive rhythms to reclaim their lost cultures. Other popular dances from this era include the uptempo Collegiate Shag and the swing dance, which builds on the twists of the Charleston into a full-on partnered style with spins.

The lindy hop, which combines the slow waltz with an uptempo swing, also originated in Harlem in the 1930s, as did the Lindy Slide, a hand-rolling, foot-stomping dance that was popularized by rock-and-roll musicians. The hand jive, which is performed while standing and requires plenty of space, probably began in the 1950s, when dance floors became so crowded during rock ‘n’ roll concerts that revelers had to develop a dancing style they could do while still standing.