War played a major role in
creating the cult of the
For the first time teenagers
had disposable income
Saturday nights, crowds of
teenage kids converged on
their local dancehalls.
An absent father and
working mother attributed
to the alienated working
class teenagers who
roamed the streets at
night creating havoc.
American teens started
wearing motor cycle jackets
T-shirts, jeans and boots or
The show featured
teenagers dancing to Top
40 music. Camera shots
Included dancers‘ feet so
viewers could learn the
By 1959 the show had a
North American audience
of 20 million.
Post war youth had thrown
off the old image of
Dancing locked together.
They no longer needed the
dress as their forebears
but instead wanted to be
free to move.
Saddle shoes or sneakers
became popular .
Jive was the frankest portrayal of sex yet
performed in public.
This was a hand dance associated with
rhythm and blues.
It resembled a highly elaborate version
of Pat-a-cake and involved a
Complicated pattern of hand moves and
claps on various parts of the body,
including thigh slapping, cross-wrist
slapping, fist pounding, hand clapping,
and hitch hike moves.
It became popular in intimate clubs
where there was no room for dancing.
Canvas topped, rubber soled
shoes became the fashion icon
of rebellious youth.
Originally were to be called Peds
(Latin for foot), but a problem
arose when the name was already
Keds were worn by cheerleaders
but quickly were adapted to fast
Keds were worn with ankle socks,
tight sweaters and short dirndl
skirts called poodle skirts. Pony
tails were popular among young
The Bunny Hop was a
conga type dance.
Participants held the
hip of the person in
front of them and
moved left from
right with their feet,
as they hopped to
The Bop consisted of couples facing
each other and jumping up and down. As
they landed they ground their heels loudly
into the floor.
A laid back version was known as the
Sloppy and bopping while skipping in place
was called the pony.
Doing the bop to other animal mimicry
became the chicken, monkey, the dog and
the alligator. These were often banned from
dance halls because they were considered
Released in 1953, the movie was
iconic. Based on those disenfranchised
ex-servicemen unable to adjust to society
after the Second World War their wayward
ways held allure to would be delinquents.
Brando's sartoria became popular with
rebellious youths. His haircut inspired a
craze for sideburns and bikers’ boots
The film was banned in the United Kingdom
for fourteen years.
popularized the term
Rock ‘n’ Roll in 1951
An acrobatic combination of
the Lindy Hop and Jive
The most famous shoes of the rock and roll era were Carl
Perkin's Blue Suede Shoes. Although Elvis Presley had the big
hit the credit was always given to Perkins for composing the
The shoes united the world’s youth in
rebellion but the shoe styles were
quite different in the US and the UK. In
American they were quality ‘penny
loafers as worn by preppies, whereas
The UK Teddy boys; German Halbstark;
and French Blousans noirs wore thick
crepe soled suede shoes, called Brothel
Brothel Creepers were cheap and
crude shoes made specifically
for the emerging youth market
with soles more like platforms.
The famous Duck
Walk was included
on stage because
the artist had a
wrinkled suite. So
popular it instantly
trademark for live
Brothel CreepersThe style favoured white rockabilly
combined with Edwardian tailored
When the French designer Roger Vivier
created the Stiletto heel (4" in height) it
became a fashion phenomena.
The advent of seamless stockings
without heel reinforcement brought the
sling back into fashion.
Rising hemlines ensured legs were at a
High heels were considered symbols of
Playful defiance, and heightened sexuality,
and the shoes became the trademark of the
Despite their bad reputation by the end
of the 50's stilettos were the only shoes
a fashionable woman wore.
UK Skiffle did not contribute
significantly to popular music per
se, but did give prominence to the
guitar. Beatniks were unconventional
and followed the beat generation as
typified by Alan Ginsberg and Jack
Modern dance put stress on
torso using contact-
release, floor work, fall and
recovery, and improvisation.
It was usually performed in
bare feet, often with non-
The popularity of
sparked a change in
allowing people to
listen to music
anywhere they went.
The Cha Cha Cha originated in
Cuba and was danced with
elbows bent at right angles,
chest puffed, feet shuffling
snugly side by side. The 'cha‘
embodied the dance's extra
The dance was popular with
old and young because it
allowed youngsters to display
individualism and older people
Were already familiar with the
dance steps of the mambo and
The burst of newly invented dances and
improved sound systems meant there was
a upsurge in ballroom dancing which had
enormous appeal to the over 25 age group.
Professionals like Lionel Blair analyzed,
codified, published and taught a number of
In the UK Come Dancing (BBC) ran on and
off from 1949 to 1998, becoming one of
television's longest-running shows. The
format of the newer show has been
successfully exported to other countries
under the name Dancing with the Stars.
Lionel Blair dances with Cilla
Black and Joe Loss
The twist required the
dancer to move the
shoes in a left and right
fashion as if stubbing
out a cigarette, then to
combine this with
swinging the arms and
hips as if an imaginary
towel was drying the
Clothes became more
tailored and suits were the
order of the day.
Wrinkle pickers or needlepoint
shoes replaced cumbersome
crepe soled shoes. They were
lightweight streamlined shoes
with dandy looks yet menacingly
The heel of the female foot was
considered particularly erotic in
the 60s and backless mules were
all the rage.
The advent of seamless stockings
without heel reinforcement
brought the sling back into
Between the years 1960-63
Tin Pan Alley moguls kept
cash registers filled by
adhering to the tried and
tested systems of previous
decades. Stifling originality a
return to tailored suits and
patent leather shoes was the
stage fashion as the beat
into the new Mersey Beat.
Brian Epstein had the original
Beatle Boots custom made by
In the early days of the
Beatles wore Cuban heeled
Needless to say the fashion
became ubiquitous before
the toes began to widen and
the Chelsea boot or chisel toe
The boots often incorporated
a French seam or central
stitch running from ankle to
toe on the upper.
Dave Clark Five Beatles
Tights and mini skirts meant legs became the
focus of attention and the longer the better.
Court style shoes took on in the sixties when
Jacky Kennedy made them the shoe.
Women's hemlines became shorter matching
the length of men's jackets. Tight fitting bolero
suits (or bum freezers) for men and two piece
outfits for women were accompanied with
If the Beatles were the
conventional side of pop then
the Stones were definitely not.
Anarchy ruled, or at least so it
was portrayed, and the scruffy
lads expressed their
individualism on stage by
wearing clothes that suited their
Perhaps the only physical link that
united the five piece band was the
sneakers they wore.
In the mid-sixties exuberant youths
divided into two rival factions: the
nouveaux moderns or mods that
danced to black music and wore
designer clothes; and Rockers,
or neo Teddy boys.
Needless to say they did not enjoy
each other's company or their
favourite music and took every
opportunity to rumble.
In England, Mods and Rockers
Terrorized coastal towns on Bank
Holidays with enormous running
fights on the beaches.
Mods wore designer shoes
or light dessert boots to
protect their ankles from
the hot exhausts of their
Rockers sported swashbuckling engineer boots.
Their music was distinctly Rock & Roll and they
listened to it on jukeboxes, drinking coke or
expresso, in coffee bars.
A form of Opvnkv Haco (a traditional
dance of the Indigenous American tribes),
dancers went barefoot but was banned
from many clubs because of the noise.
The dance emphasized movements of the
feet and postures for the head but the
arms were not considered important.
The dance was popular among beatniks,
ton up boys (pre-rockers) and Australian
By the late 60s most young
Idealists followed the road to
Enlightenment and self
discovery. Many rejected
materialism displaying this
symbolically by going
The sandal or foot thong
Became part of the accepted
outfit along with kaftans,
bells, loons and Afghan
A counter unisex culture grew among working class
youths who shaved their heads, wore tailored
shirts, half mast Levi jeans and Dr Marten Boots.
Skinheads danced to Jamaican and Black American Soul.
By the 70s dancing
took place within the
confines of high tech
disco's with light
shows and glamorous
needed to stand out
and the fashion for
elevated or platform
shoes came to pass.
How about a pair of pink side winders
And a bright orange pair of pants
You could really be a Beau Brummel, baby
If you just gave it half a chance
Don’t waste your money on a new set of speakers
You get more milage from a cheap pair of
Next phase new wave, dance craze, always
Its still rock and roll to me.
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