Top Ten Dance Crazes

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Posted on July 16th, 2008

Whether you’re a very skilled dancer or if you’re born with two left feet, dancing is a very good way to let out some steam. Everyone grew up with at least one dance craze. Chances are you were videotaped by your parents dancing to the tune of a popular hit when you were a kid. A lot of dances are sort of embarrassing to remember, but every generation has lived with at least one dance craze.

Many dance crazes have come and gone over the years, although there are ten that have stood the test of time:

10. The Robot

The Robot is a freestyle dance move that was popularized by Michael Jackson’s music videos and concert appearances. The dance, which imitates the movement of a robot or a mannequin, was invented in the 1960s by Charles “Robot” Washington. There are no set dance steps for The Robot. All you need to do is start and finish your freestyle movements with locking movements that make you seem like you’re powered by an electric motor. The Robot is a favorite dance routine for electronica, trance music, and funk. To get the best effect, you can add some beeping noises to your dance routine.

9. The Papaya

"Papaya" was a song by Urszula Dudziak, which became a staple in Philippine disco bars in the 1970s.The Papaya Dance is a very popular dance in East Asia, particularly in the Philippines. The Papaya Dance is often called “the new Macarena,” because of its infectious dance steps. Many videos on YouTube and other video hosting sites on the Internet demonstrate the Papaya Dance. The dance is now used by many companies to boost employee morale and enthusiasm. Not bad for a dance step that has become a viral Internet video.

8. The Larusso

The French may have developed ballet, but they can also boast of a dance craze called “The Larusso.” The Larusso is a line dance from the music video of Larusso’s 2000 dance hit, “O ne s’aimera plus jamais.” The Larusso combines traditional line dance, modern jazz, and ballroom dance. While there are many variations of the Larusso, the most common form is the original sequence of steps in the music video.

7. The Saturday Night Fever

The Seventies were all about disco and “Saturday Night Fever." John Travolta’s swinging hips and white disco suit may not be for everyone, but he invented a famous dance craze now called the “Saturday Night Fever." The famous movie scene where Travolta does a solo routine on the lighted floor of the dance club is a combination of many disco moves. The Saturday Night Fever’s most famous dance step is the legendary pose in the movie poster, where one hand points up to the sky and one hand points to the ground. Add a bit of hip movement, and you have one of the most memorable dance crazes of the 20th century.

6. The Running Man

One of the most popular dance crazes of the 1980s was The Running Man. While some consider the dance "uncool," the dance craze was used by the likes of Britney Spears, Scarlett Johansson, and even US First Lady Laura Bush. The Running Man is often performed in parties, clubs, or even friendly gatherings. The Running Man is very easy to do; you just run in place, and add some sliding motions to your steps. It also works great if you exaggerate your motions for a high-energy performance.

5. The Hokey-Pokey

You can think of the Hokey-Pokey as the granddaddy of all dance crazes. The Hokey-Pokey has been around since World War II, and was very popular among British and American soldiers as a form of entertainment. Almost everyone grew up doing the Hokey-Pokey at school, and is still a popular ice-breaker for parties and informal gatherings. You simply put your right hand in, and put your right hand out. Put your right hand in, and shake it all about. Then you do the Hokey-Pokey as you turn yourself around, and that’s what it’s all about.

4. The Ketchup Song

“Aserejé,” also known as The Ketchup Song, was a Spanish dance hit by Las Ketchup that topped the charts in 2002. The dance also had its own unique dance routine that combined hand jives and gyrating hips. The Ketchup Dance was both popular and infamous. While children and young people were wiggling their hands to the tune of the catchy Spanish chorus, some religious organizations called “Aserejé” a form of “devil-worship.” Whether this is true or not, The Ketchup Song is one of the most easily recalled dance crazes in pop music.

3. The Lambada

The 1980s and the early 1990s was anything but a flock of seagulls, because it was a decade of dance hits and crazes. The Lambada is one of the most famous and most popular dance crazes of the time. The word “Lambada” refers to a sensual Brazilian dance, where the dance partners dance together with their stomachs pressed together. The Lambada dance style became internationally popular with the 1989 Kaoma hit “Lambada.” The Lambada was a fast-paced, smooth, and erotic, and became a favorite at ballroom parties. Today, the Lambada is still very popular in Europe and Japan.

2. The YMCA

Say what you want about The Village People, but the modern dance craze all started with the “YMCA.” The YMCA is a group dance for four people, although it can be done by just one person. You don’t need to have someone wear a sailor suit, a cowboy outfit, the headdress of a Native American, or a construction worker’s safety helmet to have a perfect performance of the YMCA. The dance is a favorite among cheerleading squads, who incorporate it to their halftime routines.

1. The Macarena

The Macarena is perhaps the most famous dance craze that almost everyone loves to hate. No matter how annoyed you are with the Macarena, it’s still something you can remember. Los del Rio, the Spanish duo that made “Macarena” the greatest one-hit-wonder of all time, didn’t know that they landed a spot in history by writing a catchy song and making catchy dance steps to go along with it. Everyone who grew up in the 1990s is very familiar with the seven easy dance steps of the Macarena. Today, the Macarena is still derided, although it is still incorporated in exercise videos.

Dance crazes are not about complicated moves, but about having everybody join in the fun of simple steps that anyone can do. While most people would rather forget about “silly” and “immature” dance crazes of the past, they are little things that get stuck in our heads no matter how much we try to replace them with other thoughts. Maybe in the next few years, even these “old” dance steps will be popular again, and the good news is that we can all pick up where we left off. If you enjoyed reading this article, you’ll surely be interested in reading how to dance at a night club.


* Dancing liberates the spirit! It’s been an age-old practice and hobby that has spread through different cultures all over the world. You too can learn how to dance! There are many dancing schools available on the Internet. It’s the perfect hobby for those who’d like to lose weight and express themselves through music.

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