Iconic Dance Crazes Throughout the Years Part 2

Picking up from our last blog, this is Iconic Dance Crazes Throughout the Years Part 2, covering novelty dances from 1980 to the present! If you still haven't read the prequel to this blog post, you can click this to see it. With that said, let's get straight into it!

The 1980s

As music sub-genres emerge from their parent genre, disco, pop became pop with the latter becoming outdated. With hip hop increasingly becoming favoured by the masses, electronic dance music was born. Just think of it as a more futuristic disco!

 A cable channel named MTV had just come out, changing the music and dance industry forever. Lesser-known artists were allowed to be recognized. Good looks and dancing were valued much more like singing.


Before MTV, there were musicals and dance movies. Footloose is a line dance bearing the same name as the movie where it was showcased. Fun and somewhat tricky, its choreography really lives up to its name with all the foot movement involved. You can check how to do it on YouTube, but we recommend that you see the film for yourself, as it's not one of the greatest dance movies for no reason!


If mimicking a robot is a hit dance craze, then why not mimic a zombie as well? There's not much to be said. The dance is basically cracking zombie movement, hands shaped like hand claws, and many other horror film elements plus traditional disco dance moves. The song, along with its choreography, has solidified its place as a go-to for dance performances during events every Halloween season!


Even if it's only usually danced to Billie Jean, the moonwalk is one of the most famous, if not the most famous dance move there is! Looking as if the performer had just defied gravity by moving backward while walking forward, it all comes down to smoothly sliding back to reinforce the illusion. Don't lie, you were probably left astonished the first time you saw someone do it. (We were too!)


Genres from the recent decade have continued to thrive. The change and evolution of mainstream dance styles and music have become evident as the music and dancing industry has completely embraced urban music. The world also saw more exposure to Latin dance crazes during the time—a result of cultural globalization that has been sped up by the availability of communication technology.


Do us a favour and wear baggy pants (also called Hammerpants) if you're gonna do this. Whatever you may call it—the hammer, hammer dance, the MC Hammer dance—hammertime refers to a dance move featured in MC Hammer's song "U Can't Touch This", where he made his feet look like a hammer driving nails to the ground. Bend your knees and shuffle from left to right and back repeatedly. Simultaneously, stretch out your arms, then alternately raise and lower either shoulder. You can also add or replace the arm movement with other hip-hop dance moves.


A classic, everyone is sure to know this one. If you don't, then ask your parents. Chances are that they'll start singing and dancing out of nowhere to show you what the macarena is! The dance is easy to do because all you have to do is place your hands on various parts of your body, move your hips, jump and turn, clap, and repeat; fun and simple!

Tootsee Roll

Unlike the candy, this one has no "i" in its spelling. The song and the dance became a classic in nightclubs and raves at the time, and is still known and occasionally danced today by those who know it. The lyrics state what the steps are and when to execute them. Other than the dips and slides from side to side, what makes it distinct is moving the legs in a motion similar to a butterfly.


As time goes by, dance crazes have become almost always associated with a particular song, unlike the ones in the earlier decades. Although novelty dances are still in full production, most are just variations and compilations of existing moves.


Another dance that came from a Latin song, you can copy the dance just by watching the chorus on YouTube or queueing the song on a karaoke! About 15 years after its controversial release in 2002, it surfaced once again in popular media when someone confirmed that the lyrics of the song were just gibberish after all. So don't worry about performing a ritual without knowing it. Wave your hands to the beat all you want!

Stanky Leg

Although the craze is called the stanky leg, please don't avoid the shower before hitting the dance floor! The idea here is that you have a "stanky leg", alternating between your left and your right one. For example, you lean your body on your left foot, stretch your right foot outward, and dragging it to the left while maintaining its position. Looks familiar? We think it's the zombie dance craze rising back from the dead—zombies are stinky, right?


Coming from Soulja Boy's Crank That, its dance is one of the most important crazes to have existed this decade. Both a meme and a dance craze nowadays, it is one of the first songs to have become a popular online dance challenge. The part that gained fame in the routine is hopping three times while holding your arms up (like Superman!)


Goodbye CDs and DVDs. Welcome to the age of flash drives and online media sharing! With the creation of social media platforms to share content, trends have never been set and shared to the entire world faster than ever! Starting from the creation and fall of Vine, a platform that allows you to share six-second-long videos, the idea of "shorts" quickly developed and became a thing. Dubsmash and Musical.ly—later becoming what you would know as TikTok—came out, which would revolutionize dance communities forever. It's just impossible that you do not know someone who posts their dance vids on TikTok!

Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)

Starting with the dance that made us look back through past dance crazes and introduced a new one as well, this is unarguably a must-have on this list! Stretch your hand out to the front as if you're lashing a whip, then walk back while waving your hands goodbye to do the nae nae. Aside from the whip and the nae nae, the whole craze also features the bop, break your legs, duff, and even the two dance crazes mentioned above!


Yes, it's no surprise that it became a craze, but many people are still not aware that it's actually a dance craze! Other than being a meme, a means to celebrate, or to show disrespect, the dab has become a sensational dance move wherein it could be done in any situation—especially hip-hop dance styles. Dab on them haters!

Gangnam Style

Nothing screams 2012 more than Gangnam Style! An iconic K-pop dance craze that is certainly one of the dance crazes to have paved the way for the spread of K-pop culture, it remains prominent today for its distinct, comedic music video. Notably known for its dance move that mimics riding a horse like a cowboy, we recommend that you see his other works such as GENTLEMAN and DADDY.

Speaking of honourable mentions, here are dance crazes that we think should still be included here no matter what:

  • The Running Man
  • Cha Cha Slide
  • The Dougie
  • Harlem Shake
  • Twerking
  • Juju
  • Floss
  • The Woah
  • Shoot (a.k.a. Hype in Fortnite)
  • Dame Tu Cosita

Wait... What about this decade? We think it's still too early to judge what's ahead, but it's only a matter of time before we start looking back again. Wanna stay up to date and learn the latest dance crazes with us? Contact us on 0422 939 749!