Dance trends are always unexpected and usually hilarious. From finding yourself dancing like a machine in a club on a Saturday night, to getting all the family up on Christmas Day to do a round of the birdie dance, we’ve all got sucked into getting involved in one of these trends at some point or other. Whether you regret it or not, no doubt there are a few dancing skeletons in your closet – in fact you’ll probably recognise some of these:
Thanks to Michael Jackson’s moves during a performance of Billie Jean in 1983, the moonwalk – where the dancer looks to be being pulled back whilst walking forward – became the dance craze for every cool kid in the 1980s and 90s.
2. The robot dance.
This is another dance trend that owes its roots to Michael Jackson, as he first showcased it during a performance of ‘Dance Machine.’ The aim for anyone ‘doing the robot’ is to give the impression that the body movements are driven by motors that are constantly starting and stopping.
3. Line dancing.
The heart rate raising group activity that is line dancing has its history in country and western music and a famous performance of Billy Ray Cyrus’ ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ on the Disney hit TV program Hannah Montana. This is basically folk dancing in lines with steps that take dancers through lots of stomping and the odd bit of belt grabbing – this dance craze also made its way onto the late night club circuit thanks to the Rednex ‘Cotton Eye Joe.’
4. The Chicken Dance.
Despite its old English om-pa-pa feel, the chicken dance actually derives from Switzerland, where it was originally named the Duck Dance (‘Der Ententanz’). ‘The Birdie Song’ by The Tweets – which was an instrumental version of the song produced by Henry Hadaway in 1981 – became a national sensation and the song sold more than 1.6 million copies. It has also been voted the most annoying song of all time and if you’ve heard it you will no doubt understand why…
5. Irish dancing.
When Riverdance became popular after it was first performed in 1994 at the Eurovision song contest, it started a craze that was to last fifteen years. Irish dancing is essentially a series of rapid leg movements performed with almost completely still body and arms, and despite it being a fairly unlikely dance craze, during Riverdance fever, there were spontaneous bursts of Irish kicks and jumps all across the land.
6. The Macarena.
This Spanish classic was a huge hit for Los del Río in 1995 and 1996 and is for many one of the most iconic hits of the 1990s. The song has a clave rhythm and is accompanied by a series of simple dance moves that were performed every time the song was played, whether it was in a club, pub or in front of the TV at home. Learn the moves for yourself here.
7. The booty shake.
Although the origins of the booty shake are somewhat confused, the woman who bought it squarely into popular culture has to be Beyonce. She has used this signature move in virtually every performance and video she has made, from ‘Crazy in Love’ through to ‘If I Were A Boy.’ If you want to master this move then you need to learn how to seriously shake it.
Whilst it is, officially speaking, an exercise class Zumba steps and routines are so appealing and so much fun that they have been spilling out of the dance studio and into the streets (or the clubs at least). With calypso, mambo and reggae moves and upbeat energy it’s no surprise that Zumba continues to be one of the most popular dance movements around.
9. Saturday Night Fever.
Wherever you are in the world, should the Bee Gees track ‘Stayin Alive’ come onto a sound system you can guarantee that at least one person in the room will adopt John Travolta’s posture from Saturday Night Fever: right finger pointing up in the air, right knee bent, then same finger pointing down across the body, and back up. This one never gets old and tends to be the move most people bring out for virtually any music from the 1970s.
10. Gangnam Style.
This track was only released by Korean producer PSY in July 2012 but became a dance craze that swept living rooms, dance floors and anywhere with a sound system in a matter of weeks. Its lyrics reference the lifestyle of the hip movers and shakers of the Gangnam District of Seoul and the dance itself requires a shuffling gallop with a lassoing arm – it’s easier than it sounds.
These are just 10 of the world’s craziest dance trends. There are plenty more – Wigfield’s Saturday night, Bollywood, Burlesque – we could go on…