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Dancing Through the Ages

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Dancing Through the Ages

Anisa Patel, Contributing Writer

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Throughout the decades, dance styles have represented the culture, lifestyles, and traditions of people all over the world. From the fabulous ‘40s to the grungy ‘90s, and even to the Bolles formal, dances are seen as a way to have fun with those close to you.

Bolles Biology teacher, Dr. Halloran, was a chaperon for Bolles Formal 2018, and thought “the kids were into it and enjoying themselves.”

Dr. Halloran also mentioned the funniest thing at formal was “watching everyone get out of their shoes in the hallway.”


Jazz and swing dancing highlighted the 1940s, like the jitterbug to the Lindy hop. Dancing remained very popular throughout the chaos of World War II, acting as a means of escape and a way to enjoy themselves.

Marla Saikali (11) thinks of swing dancing “as an interactive and energetic way to have fun,” similar to how many teenagers of this time period felt when going to the local dance clubs.


Known as the rebellious years, this decade popularized the bop, the twist, and other dances. The poodle skirts, socks, and white tennis shoes influenced later movies like “Grease” and “Hairspray.” In this era of the pink ladies and dirty dancing, Elvis Presley rose as the “King of Rock and Roll.”


The Mashed Potato, the Fly, the Monkey, and the Funky Chicken are the names of over 400 new dances introduced. Artists like Nat Cole and The Beatles had a huge impact on the dance culture. This “Beatlemania” influenced a wave of frenzied fans, predominantly teenage girls, seen with awed facial expressions attempting to push past overwhelmed human police barricades. Films based off this era include “Cats” and “West Side Story.”


Bright colors, glitter, and more glitter come to mind when thinking about the disco era.

According to Mishal Asad (10), “ The 70s is a very colorful and exciting decade to dance in.”

Dances like the hustle, the YMCA, and soul train lines accentuated this lively and vibrant time period.  On the dance floor, disco dancers grabbed their significant other moved to songs such as “Macho Man,” “Love Machine,” and “Foxy Lady.” You may find some of these songs in the movie “Saturday Night Fever,” starring John Travolta, which was inspired by the ‘70s vibe.


Michael Jackson grabbed this decade by his white glove with his famous moonwalk.

On top of that, breakdancing and street dancing came to life, originating in South Bronx of New York city. Punk and heavy metal also rocked this decade, and the dance style called lambada was featured in the famous film, “Dirty Dancing.” Lambada is a fast-paced dance with long-standing Brazilian roots.

Julie Mas’s (10) favorite decade to dance in was the 80s because “she likes the colors” associated with the era.


Hip hop and line dancing inspired dances like the tootsie roll, the running man, and the macarena. The phrase “hammer time, ” sprung from the artist MC Hammer, and the lyrics “ice, ice, baby,” was first voiced by Vanilla ice. Nirvana and Pearl Jam brought Grunge’s raw, jarring sound into the music industry, matched with lyrics that usually seemed to express a downbeat, even nihilistic worldview.


Women were sure to “put a ring on it” after hearing Beyoncé’s hit, “All the Single Ladies.” Music artists such as Britney Spears and N’Sync took the world by storm, along with other early 2000s songs such as “Crank that Soulja Boy,” “The Lean Wit it Rock Wit it,” and “Teach me How to Dougie.”


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Dancing Through the Ages