Animal Dances

Dance fads brought new moves to the lively Ragtime tunes of the early 1900s and to Roaring Twenties jazz. In the ‘Teens and Twenties, a series of dances known as the Animal Dances swept the country, often from west to east since some were invented in San Francisco. Others had African-American origins.

The Bunny Hug was particularly scandalous. It was usually danced to slower music and featured grinding moves like the ones seen today on the dance floor. Even the faster dances involved close contact and so were considered indecent by most. Some clubs banned them. Some people were fined for dancing so erotically. The Vatican denounced one dance–the the Turkey Trot–thereby providing a huge boost to its popularity.

The Horse Trot featured a high kick, a difficult move for ladies with the dresses of the day, which may be why it faded before the Twenties. The Grizzly Bear and the Kangaroo Hop had their fans too.  The Fox Trot outlived them all.

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