Dance fads come and go, but a few have had a remarkably long shelf-life. The limbo, for example, originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the slave trade and rose to popularity in America when Chubby Checker recorded “Limbo Rock” in 1962. Then there’s the Charleston, which got its name from the city of Charleston, South Carolina, and became a popular dance during the Roaring ’20s as flappers shed their stuffy etiquette to flaunt their loose arms and legs.
Other fads, such as the twist and the Watusi, emerged from the rock ‘n’ roll era. And then there was the moonwalk, which Michael Jackson famously did while singing “Billie Jean” in 1983. The dance, which gave the illusion that he was gliding backwards, is still a favorite among dancers today.
Similarly, swing dancing enjoyed a lengthy run in the early ’20s. The Lindy Hop, a freewheeling couples dance developed in underground African American juke joints during Prohibition, influenced big-band swing, which featured performers like Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. And the foxtrot, which entered its heyday at the end of the 1910s, used the Lindy Hop as its foundation but added lifts, flips and other death-defying aerial moves.
More recently, social media platforms like TikTok have facilitated the rise of new dance crazes. One of the most popular — the Woah challenge, created by 16-year-old choreographer Charli D’Amelio — took less than a week to go viral after she posted a video on Feb. 29.