The 1850's was known as the romantic era for music. The most popular and common dances during this time included the waltz, the polka and the galop. The waltz was a big deal because it was known as a 'closed' couples dance. This meant that the couple would dance arm and arm. The waltz changed the way couples danced together. The polka was most popular in the 1840's and continued its popularity through to the 50's. The galop was also a couples dance, the couple would slide sideways down the dance floor.
The 1950's had dances that included the cha-cha, swing, and the hand jive. The cha-cha was a very popular dance at night clubs during the 1950's. Swing is one of the dances from the fifties that is still practiced today. The hand jive could be done to any up beat song. The hand jive is one of the few dances you can do sitting down because the dance is a variety of hand and arm movements. This dances was also featured in the movie "Grease".
The hand jive
Backus-Page House Museum