Dancing and disco music
With rock and roll accelerating the numbers of dances that were being created, it wasn’t long before other artists were dancing when performing. Elvis Presley had proved that it was possible to sing and dance and other groups started to emerge in other genres of music that were more than happy to produce dance routines when singing on stage. Bands, such as the Temptations, produced dance routines that were perfectly synchronized. The Motown record label had a number of soul artists whose natural rhythm easily emerged on the stage. Dianna Ross and the Supremes released many hit records, and many of their performances were sung along to dance routines.
The emergence of disco music saw dancing become more popular, and records were specifically released in order for people to dance along to them in discos, clubs and dance halls. At first dancers improvised and used their own steps, but soon new structured dances emerged.
In the early 1970s the film “Saturday Night Fever” was released, it was based around the disco scene in New York City. John Travolta, the lead actor of the film, spent his early career touring in musical performances and it was this experience that resulted him being so well cast. Before his role performed in disco dancing competitions, and, in the film, he can be seen performing two versions of The Hustle. Many dances emerged, such as “The Bump” “The Penguin” and “The Robot”, but by the end of the disco era it was “The Hustle” that reigned. Variations include “Brooklyn Hustle”, “New York Hustle” and “Latin Hustle”.
In the film Travolta was seen performing both partner hustle and line hustle. The dance could be performed by partners or in larger groups that are separated into lines. The success of film led to the emergence of other film productions, such as “Fame” and “Flashdance”.
The new dances were soon being performed by dance troupes that were regularly appearing on music shows. Pam’s People and Hot Gossip would create dance routines to the biggest disco hits of the day. Some of the dance moves were even described in a dance book “The Complete Guide To Disco Dancing” that was published in 1973. Many groups were famous for producing disco records. They were the ones creating the right beats for the Disco goers to be able to dance along to. While many bands signed with Motown group were popular, there was a number of bands that emerged during the 1970s that had no connection with the famous record label, yet were still popular in the clubs.
Bands like the Bee Gees, Earth Wind and Fire, and KC and the Sunshine band were releasing records that were aimed primarily at the Discos. Arguably the American group the Jacksons were the most popular act of all of them.
The brothers would mix their songs with dance routines that were both performed in the live performances and also on the emerging videos. Lead singer Michael, who went onto achieve solo success, was an adept dancer as well as singer. The Disco period was relatively short, and by the beginning of the 1980s its’ popularity had started to decline. It had, however, made such an impression on dancing that its influence was seen in the many decades to come.