The phenomenon of dance crazes is nothing new. We can’t pinpoint exactly where it started, but our guess is that it might have been with Elvis’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’, the Rocky Horror Picture Show’s ‘Time Warp’, or the cult classic ‘YMCA’ from the Village People.
YMCA first hit radios 40 years ago, and since then there have been dozens of awesome pop hits that have inspired people around the world to get up and get moving. Whether it’s a synchronised dance that gets everyone on their feet, or the funny kind of happy jiggle that you do when you hit the jackpot at Lucky Nugget online casino, some dances have become universal.
Join us as we find out more about the world’s top 10 dance crazes of all time, and get in the mood for some body-wiggling fun.
#10: Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart (1992)
Billy Ray Cyrus’ Achy Breaky Heart was an instant radio hit. Cyrus’ good looks and smooth country voice appealed to fans across the globe, and soon enough, a choreographer had created a distinctive line dance to match.
The dance was first created for the singer’s female fans who appeared in his music video, but later became part of a dance contest that spawned the 90s line-dancing fad. As the years wore on, Billy Ray’s daughter Miley created plenty of hit singles as well, both during her time at Disney and during her successful solo career.
#9: Russ – Gun Lean (2018)
American rap artists are great at spurring viral dance crazes, and the UK isn’t far behind. Following the success of Skepta’s Rolex Sweet and Head, Shoulders, Kneez and Toez by KIG, Russ created an iconic dance for his track Gun Lean. The glitchy, back leaning bob in the cereal aisle of a supermarket has since gone mainstream in a big way.
#8: Whigfield – Saturday Night (1994)
Nothing makes people want to dance more than a Saturday night. This particular dance actually didn’t start with Whigfield, but when she performed the hit on Top of the Pops it became an instant cult classic. The energetic hop-and-bop dance was so popular in fact, that it still endures today in gym classes and at public events.
#7: The Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian (1986)
If someone tells you to “walk like an Egyptian”, what do you do? The legendary two-arm dance to match the famous song, of course! The Bangles’ music video featuring Princess Diana, the Statue of Liberty and Gaddafi took off immediately after its release. Love it or hate it, this dance craze is decades old and isn’t about to fizzle out any time soon.
#6: Psy – Gangnam Style (2012)
Korean artist Psy had the world jamming to his 2012 hit single Gangnam Style, especially thanks to his high-powered dance. Psy’s pony-spanking moves are still well recognised today; so viral was his punchy music video for the song. Interestingly, the dance has also led to rival gang shoot-outs, intense LSD trips, fraudster arrests and conspiracy theories too. How’s that for a history-making pop song?
#5: Soulja Boy – Crank That (2007)
Who can forget Soulja Boy’s 2000s club anthem Crank That? The moves to this dance craze consisted of various punches, motorbike-starting motions and the robot dance, making it widely successful among those Noughties kids who were keen to bust a move.
#4: Los Del Río – Macarena (1995)
Few people have been able to figure out the lyrics of Macarena, but that didn’t stop the world from dancing to it – and even trying to sing along. The classic 90s dance involved a methodical range of moves that quickly took off among kids, seniors, and everyone in between.
#3: Bee Gees – Night Fever (1978)
Night Fever was the track that inspired and started the New York disco scene, which in turn inspired Saturday Night Fever. Thankfully, you didn’t have to be a dance-floor king or queen to master John Travolta’s single point-and-bob dance craze that came with it. This craze is still alive and well today, even among whole new generations of party animals.
#2: Beyoncé – Single Ladies (2008)
Beyoncé certainly knows how to move it, and her dance routine in Single Ladies is perfect evidence of her skills. The finger wagging, bopping group choreography was easy for her fans to follow, and it wasn’t long before people from every corner of the world were doing the ‘Single Ladies dance’ in their living rooms. Most people still can’t hear this single on the radio without thinking of her vibrant music video performance.
#1: Village People – YMCA (1978)
Now for the most iconic dance craze of all time: YMCA. One of history’s finest pop songs, this track was accompanied by a performance from the Village People themselves at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand in January 1979. The group hadn’t choreographed a dance at all, but the audience mistook their raised arms for a Y-formation dance move and invented a dance right there. Dick Clark made everyone repeat the dance, and 4 decades later, we still haven’t stopped!