What are the Popular Dances in the 1940′s?

in Ballroom Dancing Tips

What are the Popular Dances in the 1940′s?

popular-dance-1940Though it is hard to believe, it is true that some of the popular dances in the 1940’s were spread by servicemen. The period between 1942 and 1945 saw more than 1.5 million American servicemen arrive in Britain. Having not met or heard an American speak, the arrival of the Americans or Yanks at the peak of the Second World War was a great culture shock for most British people.

The Americans came along with completely new approaches to life. Compared to the British, the Americans were more easy-going and casual. They chewed gum, had crew cuts and swaggered when they walked. Catch-words and phrases that the Americans used were viewed as strange by the British. Since they earned seven times more than their British counterparts, the GI’s or Americans tended to be more generous. They came along with luxuries such as candy, fruit and nylon stockings that had been scarce since the war started- these they generously gave to young British women and to their families.

Most importantly, the GI’s brought a new dancing style. This popular dance in the 1940’s was referred to as the Jitterbug. This was an acrobatic and wild jive that made ballroom dances that were popular then such as foxtrot and waltz, appear rather boring and old fashioned.

It is obvious with their charm, outlandish life and good looks the GI’s were much more admired by the British women. However, not everyone in Britain liked them. Many Britons found them showy and loud and conventional British dance halls owners were appalled at the Jitterbug; even its name sounded improper. It did not take a long time for “No Jitterbugging” signs to appear. However, this was not strong enough to stop the Jitterbug’s craze from spreading and in most cases people ignored the signs.

At that time, dancing formed an essential part of the country’s social culture. Everyone danced and the dance halls became focal points where people met, had fun and socialized. The new dance was loved by young people particularly young women who spent hours in munitions factories or in other way participating in the war effort. The dance enabled them to forget the hardships caused by the war and to let their hair down- even if it was for a while.

With the defeat of the Nazi Germany in 1945, the Americans returned home though not alone. About fifty thousand British women went along with them to America as GI brides and started new homes there. The dance, Jitterbug though did not go along with them but kept on being danced in various parts of Britain. With time the Jitterbug, one of the popular dances in the 1940’s became less energetic and wild and went on to became rock’n’roll.

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