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Dance Styles of the 1920s

Aakash Singh
The retro dance styles of the 1920s are still one of the most graceful styles of all times. Today, many versions of these dance styles can be seen. Read on to know about a couple of original ones...
The dance styles of the 1920s were vibrant, lively, exuberant, and full of life. If you have seen some of the videos of that time, you could have sensed how much of energy level and gracefulness their dancing would require. They were simple yet elegant.
All the popular dance forms of that era come under the category of Swing dance. It is not the name of a particular style of dance, but is a group of dances. The reason why it is known as Swing dance is because they are performed to swinging jazz music. Mentioned below are few of the dance forms of the 1920s.

Lindy Hop

Probably the most popular form of dance style of that era, Lindy Hop is known as the original swing dance. The other dance forms, namely Jive, Rock 'n Roll, West Coast Swing, and Boogie Woogie have evolved from this form of dance.
The most amazing aspect of this particular dance form is the acrobatic feats involved in it. So it's not only lively, but has a little bit of acrobatics in it too, though in a mild way. Ideally, it involves fast dancing with air-steps.


This particular dance form was quite a hit after it appeared in the 1923 Broadway musical 'Runnin Wild', in the song 'The Charleston'. It was performed by the African-Americans living in Charleston, South Carolina, before it was popularized after its debut in 1923.
It is a type of dance style which involves fast movements of hands and feet. A highly energetic dance form which involves a little bit of hopping too. The dance steps in this style are graceful, and can be done solo, with a partner or with a group.

West Coast Swing

This dance style evolved from the swing music of the 1920s. Swing music was difficult to find after World War II, because of many changes that followed it. It was now much more smoother and slower than before. Hence, this type of dance form came to be known as the West Coast Swing. Since it evolved from the swing music, some versions of this dance style are - Ballroom and Country.

Collegiate Shag

The reason why it is called 'collegiate' is because it was made popular by college students in the 1920s. It is believed that this type of dance form started in New Orleans. Since it was made popular by young people, it is one of the most energetic and lively dance styles. The reason why it is highly energetic is because its fast and the hops and kicks are performed at a high tempo.


This style requires exceptional skills and finesse in the moves. It mostly involves short and swift movements with extreme gracefulness. It involves compact, fast, and fancy footwork too. This dance form evolved when there was no space available in the stuffed ballrooms.


Another popular dance form, this style is also known as 'Jitterbug Jive' or simply 'Jive'. There are few people who believe that the Jive originated in Europe, whereas few believe that it originated in America. Hence, in Europe, this dance style is known as Jive, and in U.S. it is either known as American Jive or Jitterbug Jive.
The variations in the name has also brought a lot of variations in the dance form itself, which is supposed to be an original variation of the Lindy Hop.
Most of these dance styles evolved to lighten up the mood and to escape from the terror atmosphere caused by the horror of wars during that time. It used to be a way to vent out the feeling of distress put by the wars on public. Hence, it can be seen that most of these dance forms are energetic and fast-paced.