Dances become popular when they gain recognition and engagement within a certain community, culture or society at large. These dances can range from traditional cultural styles to modern hip-hop, salsa or ballet. Some dances are fads that quickly fade into obscurity, while others have sustained popularity for decades or even centuries.
The Macarena and the dance that accompanied Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit “Thriller” are examples of long-lasting popular dances. In contrast, the Charleston, a dance that incorporates a YMCA-style hands-above-head movement and circular strut-walking, was a big hit for a short period of time.
One of the biggest dance crazes in recent history was created by Soulja Boy, who released his debut single in 2006. The song, called “Crank That,” became a worldwide hit and spawned a cult dance known as the Superman dance. It is easy to learn and can be performed by people of any age, gender or background.
During the 1950s and 60s, rock and Latin music sparked several dancing crazes. The foxtrot enjoyed a brief peak of popularity in the early 1920s. Its languid, graceful movements and the tempo of John Philip Sousa’s Washington Post march helped to set it apart from earlier ballroom dancing fads like the Boston and the Two Step.
The Hip-Hop Era of the 1980s and ’90s brought new energy to the dance floor. Pop artists like Madonna and Michael Jackson helped to popularize the dances that originated in these decades. For example, breakdancing, popping and locking – dance moves that are actually older than the era in which they were first developed – were given new life in clubs of this era. Vogueing, which first emerged in the underground drag balls of New York City, also was revived in this era and became a worldwide phenomenon after being championed by Madonna.