Original Rock & Roll music dance

One of the most influential eras in dance was the period surrounding the Second World War, which saw the introduction of rock and roll music. This was aimed at the younger generations and they craved a breakaway from tradition, as the whole youth culture experimented with many social issues. There was a feeling of anti-establishment as rock and roll developed, and the dance floor was the perfect venue for young people to express their feelings and show their passion. The music was first developed from swing, so some of the dances that were being performed in the early times were jives.

Soldiers performing the Jitterbug

The jive was first introduced into the United States in the 1930 and was performed to swing music. The posting of American soldiers in Europe during the Second World War gave the dance a certain popularity in the region. The jive was a swinging type of dance with many twirls, and there are many subdivisions of it. The soldiers particularly liked the Jitterbug and the Lindy Hop, and this was the first real time that young people were able to break away from the traditional dances that had been performed for a number of years.

The first rock and roll acts, such as Bill Hayley and the Comets, Jerry Lee Lewis and Richie Valance had excited audiences dancing to the music in different forms of jives, but as the later acts emerged, the styles of dancing started to change.

The twist was one of the most popular forms of dancing, and from the late 1950s it became the first worldwide dance craze. It was the first provocative dance and its popularity resulted in the Chuck Checker’s number 1 hit single “The Twist”. The dancing involved partners facing each other with legs spread. They would then twist their bodies in time to the rhythm of the music.

The famous Elvis dance moves

There were many other dances that emerged from the twist. The Jerk, The Monkey and The Funky Chicken were just a few of the styles that evolved as the twist was performed around the globe. The changes in dance moves were an important step towards the cultural revolution of the 1960s. A more formal dance was actually the Rock and Roll. This was an athletic performance with twists, throws and jumps. This is still performed in competitions today and it contains high activity, but lacks the passion that the other dances were creating

America was not the only country where new dances were being created. In Britain the popularity of rock and roll music saw the emergence of the Teddy Boys, and they has their own particular culture. They listened to rock and roll, but also liked Jazz and Skiffle music. Their favorite dance was The Creep, which was a slow shuffle.

However, the artist who made the biggest impact on the changes in dance style was Elvis Presley. He would perform his songs and dance at the same time, gyrating his hips in such a manner that he was commonly called Elvis “the pelvis”. His acts would have a mesmerizing effect on his young screaming teenage fans and his act portrayed real sexual innuendo.

His performances were the bridge between the dance hall and the discotheque. It was now accepted that people did not just have to dance in pairs. People could go out listen to music and dance. Not everyone would dance with the passion that Elvis had, but they were able to express themselves on the dance floor without needing a partner to do so. Many of the dances that were introduced during the 1940s and 1950s were influential in the later dances that emerged. They were the initial acts that broke down social restraints and gave the young people to express themselves on the dance floor.