5 Popular 1940’s Dances

Do you love retro events? We do. Recently we were asked to perform for a USO benefit. So, I researched the popular dances of the 1940’s.

Popular Wartime Dances:

After digging around the internet, I found 5 popular dances of the 1940’s. They are Rumba, Mambo, Samba and Foxtrot. The King of them all was the swing. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. Let’s look at each of these dances.

40’s Rumba:

Latin music’s seductive rhythms were sweeping ballrooms. The Rumba king Xavier Cugot introduced many new rumbas to the wartime ballroom.  He recorded Cole Porter hits including “Begin the Beguine” “Peanut Vendor,” “Maria Elena” and “Tico Tico.”

Mambo Dance Craze:

Band Leader Perez Prado lit the Mambo fire for Americans. His songs include “Mambo Rock”, “Patricia” and “Tequila.” These South Pacific inspired hits fanned the flames of the mambo “dance craze” in the USA.

Carmen Miranda’s Samba:

Movie icons were setting trends in the big band era. Carmen Miranda Chick-a Chick-a Boom Boomed the samba into the limelight. From there hits like Brazil graced the big band repertoire as dancers bounced along with the samba.  

Jazzy Blues Foxtrot:

Many of the big band charts like “Baby It’s Cold Outside” were written for the jazzy Foxtrot. This throwback to the early 1900 animal dances continued to grow and develop over time. By the 1940’s elements of blues dancing found its way into the foxtrot variations.

Swing was King:

Swing was king of all the 1940’s dances. Morphing from the Jitterbug into the European Jive and the American triple time swing, Swing was the dance of the decade. Troops were “In the Mood” to bring this all-American dance to the far corners of the world.

Party like the 1940’s:

Wartime dancing was diverse. Lots of new Latin rhythms coupled with the past favorites. Armed with this knowledge you can craft a fun South Pacific wartime USO party. Dance with happy Feet.

5 Popular 1940’s Dances:

  • Rumba
  • Mambo
  • Samba
  • Foxtrot
  • Swing

Holly Collins Tomazin
WEDDING DANCE instruction
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