Watch Forbidden Dances: Banned Moves from the Tango to Twerking

Miley Cyrus's shakes are only the latest craze to earn the ire of authorities and local officials. A short video history of scandalous dance floor behavior.

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There’s nothing new, it seems, about Miley. Every decade has its dance crazes – moves that at first seem too racy for the mainstream and then explode in popularity. We can trace them all the way back to the 19th and early 20th century, when the waltz was considered risque because the partners were touching. In 1913, there was a riot at the premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring at the Paris Opera House, thanks in part to choreographer and dancer Vaslav Nijinsky’s unconventional moves.

In the ’20s and ’30s, dances like the Charleston and the Lindy Hop were banned in many dance halls. In 1956, Elvis’s hip-swivel on The Milton Berle Show electrified the nation. Images of girls screaming and fainting (and older people’s disapproving frowns) are almost as iconic as the King himself.

When Latin style dancing gained popularity in the U.S., jaws dropped. Just look at the tango. And the word “lambada” is practically synonymous with “forbidden.”

Breakdancing and moshing, while perhaps not salacious, were considered dangerous and often banned from school grounds. Schools across the country still implement bans of certain behavior at dances, particularly for grinding.

And now, there’s twerking. It’s been around for years, but it took Miley Cyrus to get us talking about it.

4 comments
Marko
Marko

Lambada was never forbidden in countries where couple dancing was not a problem. Actually the new lambada, the Brasilian zouk dance, was flash mobbed yesterday in over 50 countries and 170 cities world wide, including countries like Dubai, Japan, China and India. The real forbidden dance was the Maxixe with simular movements from the lambada. Brasil banned it in the 20's.

JessePinkman
JessePinkman

I'm not sure what Miley Cyrus is doing but it's not twerking.  She doesn't have the backyard for it.

mak4374
mak4374

I only clicked on this to post: Can you please let it go? Just because idiots are trying to fill their lives with others' celebrity obsession, can you please get back to reporting news that matter?  Why the - - - - should anyone care about a performer who makes a leaving only when morons pay her to create "controversy", and then you fuel their idiocy?