The Dawn of the Dance Challenge

It seems like there’s a new dance craze taking the world by storm almost every other day. 

Madonna said it best “Music makes the people come together.” The world has found a way to connect through dance that is completely in thanks to the power of social media.

Growing up, there were definitely dances everyone knew like the bump, the snake, the bounce, the troop, the Humpty Dance, the freak, the wobble, the Alf and so on. We got most of the moves from music videos or something our parents taught us. Now you could spend days scrolling through different renditions and tutorials of one dance on various platforms. There’s no age limit or dance background needed, just someone to record. Youtube, Facebook and Instagram stream directly to millions everyday allowing “everyday people” to become a worldwide sensation within minutes.

You want to know what’s HOT?!? Then you’ve got to keep your ear to the streets.

Right now you see the Floss, the Shoot, the Shmoney Dance and most recently Drake KeKe #inmyfeelings and Ciara’s #LevelUp challenges.

Some of the most trending dances stem from an artist doing tantalizing choreography that’s fun to learn, a lyric in a song or just a simple 2 step everyone can catch. It’s not always a major production.

Making these types of videos allows people to express their love for dance and music on an international platform. They create catchy visuals and build their following while of course promoting the song and the artist. No matter the benefit, everyday people who want to share their style and flavor with the world upload their rendition for the world to see.

Before we were so well connected, there were a few dance trends that got us all jammin to the same 2 step no matter where we are. Here are a few of the dance crazes that paved the way.

15. Soulja Boy Tell Em: ‘Crank That’

In 2007, Soulja Boy had everyone cranking it on YouTube when the site was barely two years old. It’s a mix of bouncing back on your heels, cranking your wrists like you’re on a motorcycle, then lunge into a Superman pose. BAM! That’s the magic. It spawned the first major “millennial” dance craze.  Despite its popular appeal, the song and Soulja Boy’s first major label album were universally panned by critics. However, platinum-level sales show that listeners didn’t care.

14.  Silento: ‘Watch Me Whip (Whip/NaeNae)”

Silento started with a 15-second Instagram video turned into a viral hit and major recording contract. But it’s not just about whipping and nae-naeing on this song. There’s the Superman, the duff, the bop and the break your legs, all put together with instructions easier to follow.

13. Psy: “Gangnam Style”

The “Gangnam Style” wasn’t just a dance craze, it was a cultural phenomenon. December 21, 2012, Psy’s video became the first ever to surpass a billion views on YouTube with his horse-riding moves.

12.  Whigfield: “Saturday Night”

The key to dance craze success is to keep the routine as simple as possible. It’s a rule that made Whigfield’s “Saturday Night” one of the biggest hits across Europe in 1994. People were rolling their wrists and bouncing around to this for seven weeks when it was at No.1. In fact, “Saturday Night” is just like riding a bike: you may not hear it for years, but as soon as it comes on you find yourself doing the routine perfectly all the same.

11. Madonna: “Vogue”

Voguing was a popular dance phenomenon in the gay community long before Madonna came along, but the superstar’s 1990 hit thrust it into the mainstream. Urging listeners to move to the music, voguing is one of those skills that looks a lot easier than it actually is.

10. The Rocky Horror Show: “Time Warp”

The “Time Warp” is a parody of what it actually became. The Rocky Horror Show was poking fun at the idea of the dance-along genre with its step-by-step instructions and the fact that every cast member performing it in the musical was singing an outrageously high.  

9. “Bye Bye Bye”

NSYNC released bye Bye Bye on January 11, 2000, as the lead single from their third studio album “No Strings Attached.” The video that followed gave us one of the most infamous movement lyric combos we’ve seen to date. Wave you hand and jump three times then ball up your fist and jump three times. That’s it but those 2 steps are still ingrained in every 90s kid’s body.

8. Chubby Checker: “The Twist”

One of the earliest dance crazes known, Chubby Checker took a song that charted at just No. 28 the year before, quite literally put a Twist on it, and saw it soar to the top of the chart in 1960. And 46 years on, “The Twist” is still a wedding/office/school disco mainstay, and in an instant, everyone on the dance floor is wiggling their feet like they’ve got pins and needles.

7.  Kid N Play

This culture classic was first seen in Kid N Play’s video “Do This My Way,” it’s also known as the “Funky Charleston,”  because it was influenced by the 1920s era dance The Charleston. Unlike the original Charleston, The Kid n’ Play Kickstep requires two participants instead of one. The Kid ‘n Play dance is a dance you have to do with somebody else,” Christopher “Kid” Reid says. “You can’t do the Kid ‘n Play with somebody you don’t know. The person will be like, ‘Yo, why are you kicking me? Like, I don’t even know you.’”

6. DJ Casper: “Cha Cha Slide”

There’s nothing better than a song that tells you what to do, when to do it, and how many times you should do it. And when it comes to DJ Casper’s ‘Cha Cha Slide’, there’s a very good reason for that: it started its life as a workout routine for a health club in America. You can’t, however, hold greatness down, and within a few years the ‘Cha Cha Slide’ was a global phenomenon. All together now: take it back now, y’all. One hop this time!

5. The Moonwalk

May 16, 1983, during his performance of “Billie Jean” Michael Jackson went Jesus Christ on us and looked like he was walking on water. There are many recorded instances of the moonwalk; similar steps are reported as far back as 1932. In 1985, Calloway said that the move was called “The Buzz” when he and others performed it in the 1930s. In 1944, Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien featured something like the move in their performance of “Under the Bamboo Tree” though their performance lacks the illusion created by the genuine moonwalk. In the 1950s, Dick Van Dyke performed a similar variation of the moonwalk and camel walk in his comedy routine called “Mailing A Letter On A Windy Corner.”

But no one made it look as cool or have that type of global impact as the King of Pop.

4. The Electric Slide

Choreographer, pianist and Broadway performer Richard L. “Ric” Silver created the dance in 1976 from a demo of Marcia Griffiths & Bunny Wailer recording of “Electric Boogie”. There are several variations of the dance. The original choreography has 22 steps. The 18 step variation went viral in 1989 and for ten years was listed by Linedancer Magazine as the number one dance in the world.

3. Village People: “YMCA”

Quite possibly one of the most famous gay anthems with an equally iconic routine, ‘YMCA’s cheerleading gestures actually didn’t come about until after the song was a hit. The story goes that during rehearsals for an episode of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand in 1979, the audience picked up on this previously unused choreography and the band had no choice but to go with it.

2. Michael Jackson: ‘Thriller’

Before there was The Walking Dead, there was The Dancing Dead. Aside from truly iconic moments like The Moonwalk and ‘Smooth Criminal’ lean, Michael Jackson’s most famous routine came complete with horror show shenanigans and choreographed zombies. We also suspect that the insane popularity of the ‘Thriller’ routine is largely down to the fact it’s one of the few MJ moves the average dancer can actually do.

1. Los del Rio: ‘Macarena’

Heeeeey Macarena!!!  Macarena is a Spanish female name which basically translates to Mother of God, so it’s fitting that it’s also the mother of all dance crazes. It took three years for the phenomenon to really take off, but by the summer of 1996 the ‘Macarena’ was the most famous piece of choreography across the globe.

A few that didn’t make the list.



Humpty Dance

Tootsee Roll

Hit the Quan

Stanky Leg

Chicken Noodle Soup

Laffy Taffy

Cat Daddy



Right Stuff

Cabbage Patch

The Sprinkler

Author: Luckie