As a cultural phenomenon, dances are meant to evoke specific emotions or eras. They can be playful or sensual, and they’re usually created to a song. While some dances become global fads, others are cult favorites that have withstood the test of time.
One of the most famous dance crazes from the 1920s and ’30s comes to us courtesy of Prohibition, which brought on speakeasies and all sorts of creative ways for people to drink and carouse without breaking the law. This era gave birth to a whole host of popular dances, including The Charleston and its offshoots. It was a time where women and men shed the stuffy etiquette of Victorian dress to flap their arms and kick up their heels.
Other dance crazes from the same era include the lindy hop, which builds on the twists of The Charleston and becomes a partnered dance that includes spins. It’s a highly stylized dance that continues to be performed in ballrooms, bars, and fitness studios to this day.
The limbo, which requires participants to bend over backward while gliding forward underneath an ever-sinking bar, is another craze that was born in the rock ‘n’ roll era. But unlike The Charleston, it’s a dance that requires more skill and coordination to perform.
The ’90s spawned several different dance fads, from the goofy country line dance craze of Billy Ray Cyrus’ Achy Breaky Heart to the latin clave beat-powered one hit wonder of The Macarena. But perhaps the most iconic dance fad of this decade came from South Korean producer PSY, whose Gangnam Style broke a billion views on YouTube. His fun hopping dance is still being performed in karaoke bars and at weddings today.