Dance Fads of the Roaring 20's

Jessica Jacobs

The Charleston

The Charleston was an extremely popular type of dance in the 1920's, especially with Flappers. It was an energetic dance that involved a crazy flailing of the arms and legs. It was danced to ragtime jazz music 4/4 time with syncopated rhythms. The dance could be done by oneself, with a partner, or in a group. The costume for women demanded a short, straight dress without a waistline. Men could wear whatever was easy to move in.

Dance Marathons

Another dance fad of the 1920's was the dance marathon, which were human endurance contests in which couples would dance nonstop for days-only taking a 15-minute break every hour. Every break, one of the partners would rest or sleep if they could, while the other would hold them up. As you can see, people were crazy with their dancing during this time, and it was a big deal to win a dance marathon-most of the time there was a money prize involved. Dancers dropped from exhaustion all around, and often times the winning couple was the last one standing.

The Tango

The tango, along with the Charleston and other dances of the Roaring 20's, was upbeat and energetic, like the age itself. It was considered a scandalous dance because it involved physical contact between two partners-something that had not been done in a dance before. It was also introduced as being a very romantic and passionate dance of the time. Its unique rhythms are good for timing and footwork. And often, the tango was also a competitive style dance.