Popular dances are a broad category of fad dances. They can be solo dances or partner dances, and they often originate in a specific time period. They may be influenced by other dance styles, such as jazz or tango. They can also be based on music or movies.
Rhythm lovers worldwide have been fascinated by dance crazes for centuries. They have spawned entire new genres, challenged social norms and traditions, horrified genteel society, and thrilled young people.
Early fad dances were often inspired by the music and fashion of their time, as well as the dancing culture around them. In the 1930s, for example, the Charleston was a dance favored by swing masters like Josephine Baker and a film musical. The Depression made social dancing a struggle, but in the 1940s and 1950s it blossomed.
Contradanzas and quadrilles, the Latin-American dance forms adapted to American rhythms, became popular. Eventually they evolved into the modern dances of today.
Other fad dances were born abroad, such as the Jitterbug and the Breakaway. They started in the UK and were popular in dance halls and nightclubs throughout Europe and the US, especially in the 1960s.
The limbo, one of the oldest of all fad dances, has roots in Africa and the Caribbean and was used by slaves. It was a dance that allowed people to move their feet much lower than they could in ballroom dancing.
The tango, a Latin-American dance that emerged in the 19th century, is still a popular fad dance in many countries. It is a high-energy dance that can be accompanied by upbeat songs.