15 Popular Dance Moves From The 80s

The 80's was supposedly one of greatest decades for dance and music. MTV (Music Television) was first launched in 1981 and thus music videos become a huge part of pop culture. In this decade, a huge amount of sub-genres emerged from the expansion of rising genres such as late disco, rock, metal, pop, techno and early hip hop at the time. Even the dance moves of this decade have spawned sub versions of their own, influencing popular moves in the later decades. Many of the dance moves of this decade were made by artists or named after other things such as animals or cartoons. So how many of these 80's moves do you know?

1. The Moonwalk

The Moonwalk, also known as the Backslide or the Glide, is a dance move in which the dancer glides backwards while appearing to be walking forward. This move was popularized by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, when he first performed this popping illusion during his performance of Billie Jean on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever in 1983, this move has been recorded as far back as in the 30's.

2. The Prep


The Prep is a dance move in which the dancer takes a step to one side and points their fingers with palms flat upwards to the side. There are many variations with this move such as with pointing and mixing in some other moves in between in such as the Dirt Off the Shoulder move. This move was first seen in 1984.

3. The Wop

The Wop is a dance move in which the dancer punches their arms up to the opposite side. This move was created and popularized in the 80s by B-Fats' song Woppit which described how to do this dance in 1986. It can be seen in many music videos such in It Takes Two by the duo Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock from 1988.


4. The Biz


The Biz is a dance move in which the dancer hops one foot to the side and swings their arm out to the other side with the opposite arm, along with their hip popped out at the same time. This move was created and popularized by Biz Markie after his songs Biz Dance and Return of the Biz Dance described this move starting in 1986. Biz Markie himself often performs this move in the beginning of his stages performance with his back towards the audience.

5. The Cabbage Patch

The Cabbage Patch, in some ways is similar to a move termed as Churning Butter. It is a dance move in which the dancer moves their fists held out in front of them horizontally in either a clockwise or counter clockwise circular motion sometimes along with the shoulders or upper torso. This move was popularized by the Gucci Crew II after their song The Cabbage Patch. It was derived from the popular children's toy doll at the time called The Cabbage Patch Kids, described how to do the dance in 1987. It is commonly done as a happy dance or a little celebratory move after a victory.


6. The Snake

The Snake is a dance move where the dancer sways their head and shoulders around side to side. This move is famously known to be the signature dance move of lead vocalist Axl Rose of rock band Guns N' Roses as he was usually glued to the mic stand. This move often seen in many of their on stage performances and music videos such as for the 1987 song Sweet Child O' Mine.


7. The Sprinkler

The Sprinkler is another imitation dance move imitating the motion of a garden sprinkler. The dancer places one hand on the back of their neck and waves the other hand right in front of them in while spinning in a circular motion. This move was first seen on MTV in 1987 and has been performed many times since then.


8. The Robocop

The Robocop is a dance move in which the dancer with their feet apart, slams down their fist and elbow to one side then the other in stiff movements. This move is unlike the 70s Robot in which this is based on the robotic movements of the main character of the 1987 movie RoboCop.


9. The Butt


The Butt, similar to the Booty Roll, is a dance move in which the dancer moves their hips to the sides in a circular motion or up and down or however one likes to shake their booty. This move was popularized by the song Da Butt by the band Experience Unlimited (EU) featured in the movie School Daze released in 1988.


10. The Kid 'n Play


The Kid 'n Play, also known as the Funky Charleston since it is a variation of the original 1920's Charleston, is a dance move in which two participants facing each other step forward and back with each person's right foot kicking as they come forward. With the right foot of the two partners still up in the kick position, the two hold each other's right hands and then hop around in a circle. This move was first seen in the hip-hop duo Kid 'n Play's music video for Gittin Funky in 1988 and was further popularized by their dance scene in the movie House Party.


11. The Running Man

The Running Man, usually incorporated into the Melbourne Shuffle or the Shuffle, is a dance move imitating a stationary runner. The dancer takes steps forward but then slides the foot placed forward backwards almost immediately, the dancer also moves their fists forwards and back horizontally in front of them. The dance was said to have been a fad starting in 1986 and has been performed by many artists such as MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Bobby Brown. It has been exceptionally executed in Janet Jackson's music video for Rhythm Nation released in 1989.


12. The Roger Rabbit

The Roger Rabbit, similar to a backwards Running Man, is a dance move named after the movements of the cartoon character Roger Rabbit from the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988 in which the dancer skips backwards and has their arms flapping back on at their sides. This move has been performed by many artists in the late 80's and 90's including in Bobby Brown's music video for Every Little Step released in 1989.

13. The Pendulum

The Pendulum is a move where the dancer swings one leg to the side and brings it back to the center while swinging out the other leg. This move is more often referred to as the Milli Vanilli from their music video Girl You Know It's True in 1989 and is especially known as The Right Stuff as it is seen in the music video for New Kids On The Block in 1988. The difference between the two is that the Right Stuff move has also been referred to as the Crotch Grab Pendulum by ABDC (America's Best Dance Crew) season 3 winners Quest Crew.


14. The Worm


The Worm, sometimes called the Dolphin or the Caterpillar, is a dance move imitating the movements of a crawling worm, which makes it seem a bit terrifying but also cool. The dancer forms a rippling motion by shifting their body weight on the ground with the help of initially pushing off of it with their hands. It is uncertain who exactly first performed this move, but it was popularized during the 80's with punk rock then associating with early breakdancing.


15. The Alf


The Alf, named after the character Alf in the 80's sitcom ALF (Alien Life Form), is a dance move in which the dancer bends their knee with their toe pointed out and thrusts both arms down towards that knee. This move was encouraged in the song Do The Alph by Boss Patrol in 1988.

Of course there are many more dance moves from the 80's. Now that you've become familiar with some of them, the better question is how many of these 80's moves did you attempt to do while reading this post?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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