The most common dances from the 1970s are in the disco and punk genres, and dances from both gained enormous popularity by the middle part of the decade. The two genres are very different, with disco style being vibrantly sexy with flashing colored dance floor lighting and clingy dance wear, and punk style being more dark, aggressive, and rebellious.
Punk began with British bands such as The Clash. Common dances from the 1970s punk scene are the Mosh and the Pogo. Moshing, done in a Mosh pit, includes "head banging," "body-slamming," and other aggressive contact with other dancers while moving to the beat of the music. Although the aim of the dance is not to harm others, some people at punk and metal concerts did get hurt due to all the physical contact by so many people in one place.
Songs such as "Pogo Dancing" by The Vibrators in 1976, helped the Pogo become one of the most common dances from the decade. The Pogo involves jumping in one position off the floor to the first beat of the music and landing back where you started during the second beat of the music. The Pogo's hand movements are typically punk with a lot of freestyle pushing and shoving motions.
Although the world's first disco, The Peppermint Lounge in Paris, France, opened in the 1950s, disco dancing did not really catch on in the United States until much later. The Cuban influence in Florida in 1968 helped turn "disco swing" salsa dances into other common dances from the 1970s. A strong pulsing beat sets the defining rhythm.
Donna Summer became a huge name in disco and helped make disco dances popular during the 1970s. She had had many hits in Europe before releasing "Love to Love You, Baby" to an overwhelming response in the United States in 1975. More big disco hits from Summer such as "Hot Stuff," "MacArthur Park," and "She Works Hard for the Money" soon followed.
Van McCoy's hit song "The Hustle," which explains how to do the disco dance named in the title, premiered in 1975. The Hustle is definitely one of the most common dances from the 1970s. The New York Hustle is slower than the Los Angeles version and has more footwork.
Speaking of footwork, John Travolta's moves to hit Bee Gees songs such as "Staying Alive" and "Night Fever" in the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever inspired many dances in the 1970s. Interestingly, another Travolta movie, Urban Cowboy released in 1980, helped set the hottest dance trend for the 1980s called the Texas Two Step.