How to dance at a sock hop

Everything You Wanted to Know About Sock Hops and Having Fun 50s Style

You have probably heard of a sock hop, but if you’re looking to attend one or perhaps host your own sock hop party, you’re going to need to know a few things. We love parties with a focus on dressing up, so keep reading for tips on what to wear to a sock hop, what kind of music to play and party games for a sock hop. It’s good to be well-informed so you can rock around the clock like a pro!

What Was a Sock Hop?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty about what to do when you attend a sock hop or how to host one, you’re going to want to know a thing or two about the history of the sock hop. Sock hops originated as informal school dances during the mid-1900s. (Think prom but a lot less formal!) The dances may have actually started as early as the 1940s, but they’re still heavily associated with the 1950s. The term “sock hop” came about because participants were encouraged to remove their shoes and dance in their socks so that their shoes didn’t harm the gym floor. Sock hops have also been known as a sox hop, record hop or just a hop. (If you get invitations for any of these, it’s still a sock hop!)

What is a Sock Hop Party?

A sock hop party is a themed dance party with a focus on the 1950s that is loosely based on the original sock hops of yesteryear. There are often other activities and games to do so that it’s more than just a dance. Popular picks include hula hooping competitions, the limbo, hopscotch, jumping rope, costume contests and pin the tail on the poodle. You can also make up other games and activities with a vintage vibe, or you can find a way to include roller-skating. (Major props to you if you host your sock hop party at a roller rink!) Many sock hops are still hosted as school or church events, but individuals that like themed birthday parties can also have a sock hop party for family and friends.

What do You Wear to a Sock Hop?

Due to the fact that sock hops are 50s themed parties, attendees are typically expected to wear 50s costumes. If you’re wondering how you should dress for a sock hop, girls usually wear poodle skirts and blouses with chiffon neck scarves, bobby socks, saddle shoes and cat eye glasses, but Grease costumes and 50s prom outfits can be worn as well! Girls are easy to outfit, but you might be asking yourself, “what do guys wear to a sock hop”? Sock hop outfits for guys often include Grease costumes, but not everyone wants the white t-shirt and leather jacket bad boy look. You can also don a bowling shirt with some slacks and saddle shoes or loafers for a preppier ensemble.

How Should I Style my Sock Hop Hair and Makeup?

There are quite a few 50s hairstyles for women that would work for a variety of hair lengths, but one of the simplest and most effective is the ponytail. The ponytail was actually a very prominent hairstyle for youths in the 50s, and if you expect to be dancing the night away, it’s a great way to keep your hair in check. (Try doing that with a bouffant or a poodle cut!) There are also several 1950s hairstyles for men, the most prominent of which is probably the greaser pompadour. Other styles typically involved greasing the hair down with hair gel and combing it over to one side or to the back. As far as 1950s makeup is concerned, it concentrated on making the face fairly matte with minimal color. The one big pop of color was usually on the lips as red lipstick was very popular, but some other favorite lip colors were a little more conservative such as pink and coral. You may want to check out this video by Zabrena about how to do your own historically accurate 50s makeup.

What Kind of Sock Hop Music Should I Play?

You’re definitely going to want to use 1950s music in your playlist—kind of a no-brainer by now—but there were several prevalent music styles in the 50s and not all of them were appropriate sock hop material. You’re probably going to want to pick rock and roll jukebox favorites like Jailhouse Rock or Rock Around the Clock. Thankfully, there are plenty of 50s music collections in places like YouTube and Spotify so that you don’t have to hand-pick your sock hop tunes. (It makes you wonder how we managed to have sock hops in the decades before the internet!)

What are Some Good Sock Hop Dances?

If you really enjoy dancing and you want to take some sweet moves along with you or teach your guests how to boogie like the best of them, there are a few 50s dances that you should check out. (You certainly don’t want to look like those people that dance by hopping up and down!) Many of the dance moves were related to swing dancing, but they evolved to dance to rock and roll music. Common 50s dance styles included the boogie-woogie, bop, bunny hop and the chalypso (a mixture of cha-cha-cha and calypso). After a few of these dances, you’re sure to be burning some real calories! (Keep that Fitbit handy.)

What are Some Good Sock Hop Decorations?

Now that you’re almost ready to party, you’re going to want to make your venue have that 50s vibe. (If you can get your hands on a real jukebox, you’re a step ahead of the rest of us!) Jukebox decorations are still a good idea whether or not you have a real one. Otherwise, decorations featuring black vinyl records, 50s diner decor, roller skates, poodles and milkshakes will certainly bring out the appropriate atmosphere. Color schemes for sock hop parties usually include pink and blue or turquoise with white and black accents. (White and black checkered anything is also a good idea if you can rock it!)

50s Costume Ideas to Wear to a Sock Hop

If you're looking to get outfitted for a sock hop, these 50s costumes are a great place to start. There are several poodle skirt costumes, 50s prom dresses and Grease costumes for girls to wear. Many of them include accessories, but you can always add a pair of cat-eye glasses, saddle shoes or bobby socks to your ensemble for more of a complete look. Most 50s costumes for guys are all about the shirt, jacket or sweater vest, which you can wear along with a pair of blue jeans or dress pants. (Make sure to roll those pants cuffs!)

50s Party Decoration Ideas

[Source: Catchmyparty. com]

As we mentioned earlier, the predominant colors for sock hop parties are bubblegum pink, baby blue or teal, and white-and-black accents. Some simple ways to decorate your tables can include pink and blue tablecloths with black-and-white checkered table runners, colored plates, vinyl record placemats and milkshake table decorations. You might want to get placemats that simply look like records so you don't accidentally ruin any real records. (That record-throwing scene in Shawn of the Dead immediately comes to mind. Don't use your copy of Purple Rain!) If you have the space for some larger props or a wall you're looking to decorate, you can buy or make cardboard jukebox decorations, classic cars and soda shop menu boards.

We hope you’re looking forward to your next sock hop! Have you ever attended a sock hop? What is your favorite part of a sock hop? Feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments below! It’s cool to see how we’re still remembering history with themed parties. (It also saves plenty of time and money trying to build that time machine!)

Dancers rock the house with ‘sock hop’ moves getting 7 million views

The Boogie Woogie Competition at Rock That Swing in Munich Germany produced some absolute gems that transcend time. Watch them move, and you’ll forget what decade you’re in.

During the famous ‘sock hop’ era of the 1950s, styles such as the boogie-woogie, the bop, bunny hop, jive, and jitterbug were popular dances.

In just a four-minute clip on YouTube that has already had nearly seven million views and thirty-three thousand likes, some of the fastest moving and most talented duos perform in quick succession, showing off their best moves.


Linkyland via YouTube

Just getting this party started

The first couple to take the dance floor already have their feet moving faster than the camera can capture as he twirls and spins her across the space. She smiles broadly as they switch positions in a blink of an eye, always keeping up with the highly energetic tempo.

He’s the first one to leave the ground in a wide leap, but it’s just the first jump. Next, they hop in unison, and shortly after, he picks her up and tosses her into the air in a somersault. She lands and keeps moving, without ever missing a single beat.


Linkyland via YouTube

They move so fast that sometimes you have to remember to breathe while watching. The performance can literally take your breath away.

The second dancing duo

The moment the floor is cleared, there are already two new dance partners on it. He’s wearing a smart black suit with a blue tie. She’s wearing a dark blue dress that swirls and moves right above her knees as she flitters, jitters, and bounces over the dance floor.

The two are in motion from the second they enter the space, never pausing for even half a second. They show off their moves, moving in a choreographed dance as they part and come back together, with their feet always moving at lightning speed beneath them.


Linkyland via YouTube

Their performance includes a quick succession of splits, jumps, and flips, sometimes with only a moment between each one. The dancing duo’s energy can’t be beat.

The crowd claps to the beat and shouts their enthusiasm.

Views on YouTube share their same enthusiasm. One viewer, 2326038, pegged them as his favorite dance duo of the competition:

“The guy dressed in black wearing a hat @ 0:44 is the best male dancer in my opinion. His female partner is also very good.”


Linkyland via YouTube

Bringing the energy

Several more pairs of dancers boogie their way across the stage as the fast-moving competition with even faster feet continues. The music never stops, and neither do these dancers.

“They all just seemed like they glided across the floor…”

– Adrian Saavedra

The comments section on YouTube is full of people, like Adrian, who were simply stunned as we are by the enthusiastic performances of these amazing dancers.


Linkyland via YouTube

And for some, it brings back memories:

“I enjoy watching these boogie-woogie videos so much. I can picture my mother dancing with the sailors and soldiers at her hometown USO, and then again after she joined the WAVES and was stationed in Kansas. The stories she’d tell about the good fun they all had. They’d swing during Big Band Nights and polka during Polka Nights. Good times, she said, and I do believe that’s how she and my father met. He was stationed at the same air station.”

– AdrienneAce

You have to see the series of performances for yourself to believe in the magic.

Check out the video below and prepare to be astounded:

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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Linkyland via YouTube

[email protected]

Catherine Marucci is a contributor at SBLY Media.

How to choose dance shoes?

Part 1: ballroom, hip-hop, flamenco, folk dances, tap

Tangeros dance on their toes and slide smoothly on the dance floor, breakdancers jump and spin on the floor, hustle performers (girls) move their heels so that if you follow them , your head will start spinning. Each dance genre has its own shoes. And choosing it is very simple: you just need it to be comfortable, beautiful and eternal. Nonsense.

We've rounded up the smartest tips for choosing shoes for a variety of dance styles to make your task just a little bit easier.

Classification of dance shoes

Dance shoes, regardless of direction, are divided into men's and women's, training and demonstration, children's and adults'. But the basic classification is considered to be a breakdown by style:

  1. Sports (ballroom) dances.
  2. Hip Hop
  3. Flamenco
  4. Folk dances
  5. Step
  6. Country Dance
  7. Jazz
  8. Belly dance
  9. Modern
  10. Lindi Hop

Here we will talk about the first five directions. The remaining five are in the next post.

Sports dance shoes

Ballroom dancing, which today is increasingly called sports, is performed on a sliding parquet. They share the European (standard) and Latin American dance programs. Each of them has its own shoes, which, however, have a lot in common.

Women's dance shoes
  1. Preferred last materials are satin, brocade, patent leather and plain leather.
  2. The sole of the shoe must be leather or suede for safe and airy spins and slides.
  3. Sandals for ballroom dancing must have a heel - so that the foot does not slip out during movement.
  4. Make sure your shoes have a strap. So the shoes will stay on the foot more firmly.
  5. Dance shoe straps often stretch. Take shoes with straps that have a supply of holes or space for them - you will have to change the level of fastening.
  6. Unfortunately, not only the straps stretch, but also the shoes themselves. Professional dancers take shoes a size smaller, but they can afford it due to experience and habit. If you are just starting to dance, choose satin shoes - they stretch a little less than leather.
  7. The lighter the shoes, the cooler.
  8. In the European program, the heel height varies from 4 to 7 centimeters, depending on height and personal preference.
  9. Latin program uses heels 5 to 9centimeters. Most often, these are sandals with a closed heel and several straps.
  10. The arch support plate, which is glued under the insole, only reaches the middle of the foot, so that the leg remains as flexible as possible.
Men's dance shoes
  1. Preferred materials are regular or patent leather.
  2. Arch support reaches the ball of the foot (slightly longer than for women).
  3. For the European program, a very low heel is used - 2 centimeters.
  4. For Latin American - up to 5 centimeters. The arch support, on the contrary, becomes shorter and reaches the middle of the foot.

Classic hip-hop shoes - sneakers. Hip-hop dances are performed anywhere (traditionally - on the street), so shoes should be comfortable for any surfaces.

There is no division into men's and women's shoes, because everyone is equal.

  1. Shoes should be as light as possible. Often hip-hop is performed in basketball shoes, which are traditionally made weightless - athletes can jump as high as they like in them.
  2. The sole should be flat and bend well - this is worth checking in the store.
  3. Shoes must glide well so that spins are easy.
  4. Take shoes exactly in size: the foot should not hang out in the sneaker, and thick socks for fixation will not work.
  5. Sneakers must be made from natural fabrics or have ventilation. Otherwise, your feet will be very hot, and you will not be up to dancing.

Flamenco is a Spanish folk dance in which the shoes are a percussion instrument. And in every sense: it should be not only comfortable and beautiful, but also sonorous - to tap your heels in such music. Traditionally, flamenco is performed alone or in groups, but there are also paired varieties.

For men, regular low-heeled leather shoes with flexible soles are suitable. And the woman who is in the center of attention will have to think about the choice:

  1. Stable boats are suitable for the first classes. Ideally, they have a strap for additional fixation. If not, you can use an elastic band.
  2. The heel must be made of wood (Spanish yew) or leather (no plastic). The recommended height is from 4 to 7 centimeters.
  3. The sole is made of two layers of leather, the outsole is made of three. It must protect the foot from damage during impacts and, at the same time, have sufficient flexibility for maneuvers.
  4. The upper part of the shoe is made of leather - plain or patent leather.
  5. The toe must be rounded. It is made of double leather or leather with a sealing insert. This is necessary so that the dancer can confidently stand on it.
  6. Avoid rigid inserts - the foot should bend perfectly.
  7. Traditionally, studs are used in heels and outsoles to make the sound of tap dancing louder and richer. The studs should fit perfectly into the sole - so as not to interfere with sliding and not to sink into the skin.
Russian folk dances

Russian folk dances are artistic and provide a large selection of shoes - from shoes to boots (five varieties in total: boots, shoes, square dances, ichigi boots, Romanian). Most often, these dances are performed collectively - both by women and men.

All five types of shoes have common characteristics that should be considered when tailoring and choosing shoes / boots.

Women's shoes for Russian folk dances
  1. Shoes for Russian folk dances should be bright and embroidered.
  2. Traditional material - thin leather with overlay patterns or embroidery.
  3. Heel - low (4 cm), stable, thick.
  4. Sole and heel materials are also leather, sewn in several layers.
  5. If you choose shoes for folk dances, then don't forget about the fixing strap.
Men's folk dance shoes
  1. Men dance in boots that almost cover the calf. There are models with a high knee pad made of leather.
  2. Boots should have toe and heel inserts so that the foot can bend easily.
  3. Heel - 2 centimeters. Made from stacked leather.
  4. Pad material - leather. Color: black, red, white. Embroidered options available.
  5. Leather sole, solid. The instep is slightly shorter than the foot.
Tap and Irish dances

There are two types of Irish dances, depending on which shoes are selected - this is a "soft" dance and step. For soft dances, there are women's and men's shoes, which differ in many characteristics. For step (jigs) shoes are universal and differ only in size.

Soft Irish dance shoes
  1. Women's and men's soft dance shoes - leather ballerinas with tight lacing from the toe and microscopic heels.
  2. Material - matte or patent black leather.
  3. On the soles are plastic heels for sound. Women have heels on the toe and on the heel. In men - only on the heel. In the female version, a model with a solid sole can also be used.
  4. If you choose shoes made of thin leather, then you need to take one size smaller. If from dense - size to size. The skin has a tendency to stretch.
Tap shoes
  1. Tap shoes are made entirely of leather. Plastic heels are made on the toe of the sole and on the heel.
  2. Boots cover the entire foot. Fastened with tight lacing.
  3. The classic color of the boots is matte black. Models with a white toe and a white strap on the top are allowed.

Have you noticed that despite the huge difference between the dances, the recommendations for choosing shoes are very similar? Indeed, the most important thing when choosing is:

  • Exact fit to foot and shoe for stability and protection against injury.
  • Flexibility - in order to be able to perform any pas.
  • Lightweight. So that the shoes are not a heavy load and do not interfere with flying around the dance floor.

So, if you are into modern, jazz or other dances, for which we will talk about shoes in the second part of the article, you can choose shoes for them right now. Or wait for detailed instructions, which will be in a couple of days.


More articles:

Dance shoes: how to choose comfortable dancing shoes


If a bad dancer gets in the way of his feet, then a good dancer needs uncomfortable shoes. Properly selected wardrobe for classes is an integral part of safety. Shoes, ballet flats and even Czechs are designed specifically to protect the performer's legs and provide him with complete freedom of movement at the same time. Therefore, before starting classes, it is worth learning how to choose dance shoes.

Special shoes

As a rule, amateurs are not forbidden to practice in ordinary shoes, however, wearing non-special shoes, you will quickly feel that shoes prevent you from performing many movements at full strength. The sole does not bend and does not slip, the heel flies off, and the fastener digs into the foot. If you're serious about dancing, consider purchasing a pair of dance shoes. And when choosing, consider the following:

  • Flexibility is a valuable quality in dance shoes. You can check it by bending the toe of the model. A hard pair will severely restrict movement. This is true for ballroom and Caribbean dances.
  • High heels are very impressive, but such shoes are best left for going out and for performances, and it is better to start training without heels.
  • Specialty dance shoes always stretch, so you don't need to buy shoes with a "reserve", they will start to fall off in a week. If a pair of a size smaller is comfortable, you can buy it.
  • Trying on should not feel uncomfortable: rubbing, pressure or tingling will only get worse during class.
  • The width of the ankle strap must be at least eight millimeters, otherwise the strap will dig into the leg.
  • Open toe or heel - comfortable, beautiful, but unsafe. For the very beginning of classes, you can choose a closed model. However, an open toe will be needed with increasing experience, for example in Argentine tango (free toes give more contact with the floor).
  • The black color for shoes is universal, while the flesh color visually lengthens the legs. Keep this in mind if you plan to compete.

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Shoes and dance directions

Different types of dance are suitable for their own, special shoes, because standing at the bar in high heeled shoes is as uncomfortable as performing a waltz in pointe shoes. Therefore, in the question of how to choose the right shoes for dancing, it is worth starting from the style of dance. Your teacher can advise you. But you will still need a shift, so for the first lesson, take stable and comfortable shoes / ballet flats, with soles that do not leave marks on the floor. Desirable - a slight slip, when the sole does not stick to the floor (made of rubber and leather - choose leather).

Classical choreography

Real ballet is performed en pointe, but classical choreography classes for amateurs are held in flexible shoes or so-called ballet flats. They freely pass air and do not constrain the movements of the dancer. The traditional colors of such shoes are classic white, flesh and black.

Shoes for ballroom dancing

Shoes for European - with a steel shaft, suede or leather upper and a special strap for additional fixation. Women's heel - from 5 to 8 centimeters, always with a heel cap. Shoes for Latin American dances - with the same heel for women's shoes and about 5 centimeters for men's. A few tips on choosing shoes for ballroom dancing: check the sole - only a soft and flexible arch support guarantees freedom of movement, and only a soft insole provides adequate cushioning. When trying on shoes, rise on your toes, jump up and shake your legs - it should not interfere with these movements or fly off.

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