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Dancing Through the Ages

Social dancing over the last 100 years is a great starting point for creating a dance project.  As discussed last week, I run an annual dance show in one of my regular schools where I deliver PPA cover.  Each class (three year 1 classes and three year 2 classes) learn a dance based on a theme, which is then performed to the whole school.  This year’s theme is ‘Dancing Through the Ages’ and we’ll be doing the following styles…

  • Charleston (1920s)
  • Jitterbug (1940s)
  • Rock n Roll (1950s)
  • The Twist (1960s)
  • Disco (1970s)
  • Hip Hop (1980s)

As a starting point for the project, and to introduce them to the style of dance they will be learning, the children will be watching an example of each era.  I’ve included them below as they may be useful as starting points for your own choreography.

Please make sure you watch the clips before showing them to your class to ensure they are appropriate.  And check the comments below the youtube videos for suitability!


A Strictly Come Dancing group dance, full of kicks, flapping foot patterns and cheeky facial expressions.

Jitterbug / swing dance

A great clip from the film ‘Swing Fever’

Rock n Roll

The swing-a-thon dance from Strictly Come Dancing.  A great example of a range of 1950s dancing and some amazing lifts.

The Twist / sixties dance

A great example from ‘Dancing with the Stars’(USA version of Strictly Come Dancing).  I particularly like the men’s unison phrase when they enter, as well as the arm gestures they do when the girls are sitting on the men’s shoulders.


Of course, it’s John Travolta strutting his stuff in ‘Saturday Night Fever’!  Actions include arm rolls, stepping patterns, and the classic arm pointing.

Hip Hop

Run-DMC vs Jason Nevins music video.  And a brilliant ‘dance-off’.

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