Dancing in the 1930’s

Dancing in the 1930’s

1930's dancer gangsters

I love to dress up. So, this year I held a 1930’s gangster dance party. All my students came dressed to the nines and ready to dance 1930’s style.

But what was dancing like in the 1930’s? During the depression people turned to movies and dance. Dance Marathons were a popular entertainment. Ballroom and swing dances were all the rage. It was the age of jazz music and dance.

Swing dancing 1930’s

1930's swing out dancers

The phrase swing music came into use in the 1930’s. There were a variety of 1930’s swing dances. All these swings came out of Harlem Savoy and the black culture. 1930’s swing dances included the Lindy hop, also called the hop, the jitterbug, and the jive.

1930's swing dancers

Foxtrot dancing 1930’s

Swing was not the only dance in the 1930’s. There were endless spin offs of the Foxtrot. There was the Collegiate Foxtrot, predecessor to the country western two step. Then there was the Charleston foxtrot. The Charleston foxtrot became the shag and the Quickstep. And last, the Balboa, with a slow, slow, quick, quick rhythm and lots of kicks.

1930's foxtrot dancers

Latin dancing 1930’s

Exotic Latin rhythms made their way into the big bands and onto the dance floor. Fun party dances like conga lines invited everyone to join in the fun. Slow and sexy rumbas were introduced as a waltz box with a rhythm change to slow-ly, quick, quick. Brazilian bombshell Carmen Miranda boom chicka boomed the samba onto the big screen. From the movies samba bounced into the dance scene.

1930's dancers

Quick List of 1930’s Dances:

  • Rumba
  • Samba
  • Foxtrot
  • Waltz
  • Lindy Hop
  • Balboa
  • Shag
  • Jive
  • Big Apple
  • Conga

1930's lady dancers

Quick 1930’s facts:

  • The Great Depression causes people to wait in breadlines.
  • Charles Lindberg crosses the Atlantic
  • Disney releases his first color film
  • The Lindy hop is named after Lindberg
  • Big Band Era begins
  • Langberg is accused of being a communist
  • Jazz morphs into swing
  • Lindy hop is re-named the Jitterbug
  • Amelia Erhardt is the first woman pilot to cross the Atlantic
  • Fred Astaire and Giger Rogers dance across the big screen
  • Women gain minimum wage
  • Nazis come into power

1930's dance men

Holly Collins
WEDDING DANCE instruction
author of
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Champion Ballroom Dancer & Coach

owner of
Adventures in Dance
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1930's dance ladies