Timeless dance costumes have evolved each decade. From the glamour of the 1920s to the all-out audacious and artistic creations worn by popstars and backing dancers in the 2000s, dance costumes also transform through time. Take a look at Crystal Parade’s timeline of dance costumes, featuring all of the trends and crazes which represent the social dances of bygone eras.


Often called the ‘optimistic 20s’ many people see this decade as a glamorous and wonderful time to be alive. Jazz and blues evolved and as did dancing - the foxtrot and tango were still popular, however it was the Lindy Hop and the Charleston that took the era by storm. Flapper girls dancing the Charleston really is an image which epitomises the 1920s. In terms of fashion, the puffed sleeves and long skirts which characterised the Victorian era were replaced with shapeless dresses and shorter hems. The fabrics and trimmings for dance costumes were light and impressive, and the shorter skirts allowed dancers to show their knees during the Charleston.

The 50s was all about the rock n roll and the jive! For the popular style of dress you need only to look at ‘Grease’ - full, circular skirts and dresses for the ladies and casual jeans and leather jackets for the guys. Swing dancing was hugely popular, and the long full skirts of the dance costumes accentuated every turn and lift.

Fast forward to this funky era and it was all about the disco boogie! In the 70s people mainly started to ditch their partner and dance solo, making way for group line or square dances. If you did decide to dance with a partner, there weren’t really set moves like in previous dance styles - you just had a boogie and there was barely any touching. Disco costumes were bright and groovy, and if you were wearing trousers they would definitely be flared.

There were a few dance crazes in the 1980s, but nothing as prolific as the Charleston in the 20s or the rock n roll in the 50s. Some of the main crazes included street dancing such as break dancing, the robot etc. It was also the era when the King of Pop Michael Jackson reigned supreme, and influenced many dancefloors with his moonwalk and Thriller moves. Dance films such as ‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ made leotards and legwarmers very popular for dancers, and neon fishnet clothing and accessories was also a must.

2000s (and beyond)
It’s hard to define the 00s with a certain dance style, but popstars ruled the decade and they always danced in their music videos. Songstresses such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera set the trend of flashing the midriff, which meant crop tops worn with trousers or short skirts were in. In terms of dance costumes today, it’s pretty much ‘anything goes’ and stars seem to be in competition to see who can come up with the most wacky design concept. In Kylie Minogue’s music video for Can’t Get You Out of My Head, the backing dancers wear red plastic cones over their head. On stage, Lady Gaga’s dancers have been seen wearing everything from bondage gear to robotic suits. Dance costumes seem to be constantly evolving and instead of dancers following particular trends, there is a trend to have the most unique and shocking stage costume.
What is your favourite dance costume from the past, what would you like to see come back into fashion? Let us know on social media.
[Image credit: http://www.vintagedancer.com/1920s/1920s-dances/]

Performance costume