Popular Dances of the Past and Present

Jun 18, 2023 Uncategorized

As anyone who has danced can attest, there are a wide variety of dance moves and styles. Many of them come and go, and only a few are ever really popular. In the 1920s, for example, American Jazz roared through dance culture and created the Charleston, which reached England by the end of that decade. Then in the 1940s, dancers across America couldn’t sit still enough to keep up with the new rock and roll rhythms. The Jitterbug took off, and the wild couples dance called the Lindy Hop grew out of underground African American juke joints.

The ’80s brought a few dance crazes, including the gravity-defying moonwalk. Michael Jackson was also credited with introducing the Watusi, which originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the slave trade. The limbo is another holdover from the ’50s, and Chubby Checker’s song “Limbo Rock” gave the dance its name and popularity. The swaying, hands-above-head dance known as the YMCA is a classic, and it’s easy to do—just say the words!

Other dance fads have included the shimmy and the Mashed Potato. The latter is now known as the Memphis Jookin’, a line dance developed in the 1990s and made famous by hip-hop artists G-Nerd, LaShonte, Dr. Rico, and N.Dot. The jookin’ was a variation on the earlier gangsta walk and resembles ballet footwork. It has had a recent revival and is now embraced by hip-hop dancers. See if you can do it here.