Because TikTok gifted us *all* the dance content in 2020 (Getty Images/TikTok)

20 of Our Favorite 2020 TikToks

In a year that has been especially tough on the dance world, TikTok has been a welcome distraction. The app, in all its dance-y, super-woke, and, often, delightfully cringe-y (ahem, #DixieDAmelioOneWholeDay) glory, gave us the content we needed: An escape from the ballooning insanity we're still trudging through today. (We're almost there, folx!)

To celebrate the bounty of good feels and good moves the app gifted us this year­ (and, frankly, to celebrate the end 👏 of 👏 this 👏 year 👏), here are 20 of our favorite dance TikToks from 2020.


HOOPLA

@karaleighcannella

new dance? i should be doing my mid-term paper rn 😂😂 but try it and tag me

♬ HOOPLA - KyleYouMadeThat

The #HOOPLA dance, with choreography by @karaleighcannella, consists of all the TikTok choreo staples: hitting the woah (multiple times!), the overemphasized clap towards the camera, and the groovy hip rocks. It also reminds us of High School Musical's "Get'cha Head in the Game," and #tbh, anything HSM-relevant—oh, the nostalgia!—is a 10/10 for us.

Here Comes Santa Clause

@callmefeigh

THREE😭 @mami.cyre DC: @laneyysgrig ##fyp

♬ this is our dance give credit lol - kara

From the remixed version of a classic, to the super-simple choreography you can do with a friend, the #HereComesSantaClaus dance, created by @karawardddd, is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. Fair warning: After one listen, you'll be humming this tune for the foreseeable future.

The Lyrical Dance Version of "W.A.P."

@alexdwong

All the lyrical/contemporary solos next season 🤣😂 ##dance ##dancer ##WAP ##WAPchallenge ##dancers ##dancecompetition ##comedy

♬ Alec Chambers Lyrical WAP - Matthew Deloch

Leave it to dancers to transform one of the year's biggest pop culture moments into a lyrical dance. We're loving all the beautiful leg lines, passionate reaches, and expressive performances this dance, choreographed by @besperon, has inspired.

Shower

@iambeckyg

##Stillsingingintheshower 🙃 I had to. DC: @zacklugo @notstoud_ @brandonmundine

♬ Shower - Becky G

Becky G's "Shower" is a bop that can put a smile on anybody's face. Add to it @zacklugo, @notstoud_, and @brandonmundine's easy-breezy choreography, and you have the perfect remedy for even the worst of your pandemic blues.

Body

@beautyby_babs

@theestallion 💚 ##grinch ##holidayvibes ##ColdWeather ##bodydancechallenge ##fyp

♬ Body - Megan Thee Stallion

The "Body" dance videos popping up all over TikTok feature the original choreography (by the legendary JaQuel Knight) from rapper Megan Thee Stallion's music video and live performances, so if you're dreaming of being one of her back-up dancers—because, uh, who isn't?!—hitting these steps on the app might just be your chance! Also, please enjoy this video of the Grinch doing the "Body" dance. You're welcome.

Dancer Check

@sisimorris

Love this challenge!🥰✨ @joandjax ##healthheroes ##TexansHelpingTexans ##freezeframe ##CookieWithACause ##fyp ##dancer ##foryou ##foryoupage ##viral

♬ Dancer challenge - Violet

The #DancerCheck challenge gives dancers the opportunity to show off their favorite—and least favorite—dance tricks. And since every dancer has unique strengths, the interpretations of the challenge vary, which makes watching these dance vids all the more interesting.

Shake Ya Boom Boom

@yuvalbiiton

Shake ya boom boom💥💥 That song😍(dc: @thewilliamsfam_ ) @staticandbenel @blackeyedpeas

♬ Shake Ya Boom Boom - Static & Ben El & Black Eyed Peas

As the title suggests, this song—and dance—is all about shaking what you've got. But the choreography for it, by @thewilliamsfam_, is so much more. Wild and upbeat, the #ShakeYaBoomBoom dance might possibly be the most hype one on the app, and we're so here for the energy!

Ghost

@baileysok1

👻 (dc @kamronagee ) ##fyp

♬ VMESHBEATS ADDERALL X BOO X IG FREESTYLE - Varoon Ramesh

Ever used TikTok's "Out of Body" filter? No? Well, the appropriately-named #Ghost dance, created by @kamronagee, is the perfect opportunity to try it out. The spooky effect, which allows users to pause their body in a position, then move outside that frame in a ghostly effect, makes this dance even more fun to film and edit.

Don't Start Now

@charlidamelio

@thexhan

♬ Don't Start Now - Dua Lipa

The #DontStartNow dance was mega-popular on the app this year. Perhaps it was the choreography (done by TikTok dance star @thexhan) that's equally apt for beginner and advanced dancers. Maybe it's the sunny vibes the music gives off. But we, like the rest of the world, can't stop doing this dance!

Clock Challenge

@lukeromanzi

##clockchallenge ##flexibilitychallenge ##fy ##fyp ##dancer ##dancersoftiktok ##tilt ##familytime ##alwayslearning ##vibewithme ##ChipotleSponsorMe ##xycba

♬ Originalton - Lisa Wagner

The #ClockChallenge is really just a creative way for users to show off their flexibility. Some dancers do it standing; others opt to execute it from a handstand position—but always are the feats accomplished in these videos super impressive.

Cake

@mizzko

My facials 🥰 ##Cake 🎂 dc: @mehki ##foryou ##cakechallenge ##braidtutorial

♬ KyleYouMadeThat - All About Cake - KyleYouMadeThat

Created by @mehki, the #Cake dance serves up movement that perfectly matches the song's thumping percussion, which makes dancing it—and watching others dance it—all the more fun.

Say So

@haleypham

cute dance by @yodelinghaley 😆 ##foryouppage ##fyp

♬ Say So - Doja Cat

OK, so maybe the #SaySo dance debuted on the app in 2019, but it really made a mark in 2020. The dance represents how much TikTok was part of the cultural zeitgeist this year, with parts of the choreography, by @yodeinghaley, making it into singer/rapper Doja Cat's epic 2020 MTV Video Music Awards performance.

Levitating

@dexrated

Obvi HAD to bring this dance back for ##DuaVideo ✨💯 dc: ME! @dualipaofficial ##levitating

♬ Levitating - Dua Lipa

Choreographed by one of our faves, @dexrated, the "Levitating" dance is a sassy mix of daring hip isolations and expansive arm movements. Like the song, the choreography exudes a super-chill vibe, and we can't get enough of the combination.

What You Know 'Bout Love

@iamnancyg

Say " DANCE " in your language💃🏽 // Mine is: Asa 🙋🏾 ##foryou ##fyp ##tiktok ##viral ##nancyg ##dance

♬ What You Know Bout Love - Pop Smoke

TikTok is full of upbeat dance vids, but the #WhatYouKnowBoutLove dance slows that pace down a bit. It features the laid back, in-the-pocket grooves of @willdevane, filled to the brim with swag and ultra-cool style.

Funky Town

@addisonre

♬ Funky Town - The Dance Queen Group

TikTok + disco music = the #FunkyTown dance! It mimics parts of the "Macarena" dance from the late 90s, and is really all about, well, getting *funky* with your moves and grooves.

Savage

@keke.janajah

NEW DANCE ALERT! 🚨 if u use my dance tag me so i can see🤗 @theestallion ##writethelyrics ##PlayWithLife ##foyou ##fyp ##foryoupage ##newdance ##savage

♬ Savage - Megan Thee Stallion

In March, just as the pandemic forced states into lockdown, TikTok queen @keke.janajah debuted her choreography to the song of the year, "Savage." The song's success was, in great part, due to the popularity of Keke's dance on the app—and we're still dancing it to this day.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

@oliviaalboher

A little JAZZZZ for your day!!! dc: @melissabecraft ##dancer ##jazz ##fyp ##foryou ##dance ##legs

♬ Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) - ABBA

What would the TikTok dance community be without a little jazz dancing? Enter: the #GimmeGimmeGimme dance, choreographed by @melissabecraft. It's everything we love about traditional jazz: grounded pas de bourrées, high kicks, and so! much! energy!

Whole Lotta Choppa

@addisonre

@ohbukster

♬ Whole Lotta Choppas - Sada Baby

Need some good fun in your life? Look no further than the #WholeLottaChoppa dance. It's short, sweet, and easy to learn—but the best part? The more personality you throw into it, the more fun you'll have.

Get Up

@jm_yrreverre

BISH EAT THIS UP! NEW DANCE CHALLENGE! ##GETUPSUAVECHALLENGE 🤪 ##dancechallenge ##dance ##dancersoftiktok ##fyp ##foryoupage

♬ original sound - Jm Yrreverre

Singer Ciara's "Get Up" has always been a jam, but this remixed version of the song on TikTok—souped-up, with accents galore—is a dancer's dream. And the insanely musical choreography by @jm_yrreverre is even better.

The Renegade (of course)

@jalaiahharmon

ayeeee🙈🔥

♬ Lottery - K CAMP

No TikTok list would be complete without the "Renegade" dance, popularized in 2020 by Charli D'Amelio, but created months earlier by TikTok icon @jalaiahharmon. Users (and celebrities) all over the world were doing it. And the popularity of the dance spurred important questions about TikTok ethics: why weren't TikTokers getting credit for their moves, many of whom are Black? And whose responsibility was it to credit them? Fortunately, crediting TikTok creators has become less of an issue in recent months. And we have the "Renegade" dance (and Jalaiah) to thank for that.

Latest Posts


Because all dancers have experienced it at some point or another (Getty Images/patat)

How Dancers Can Beat Zoom Fatigue

Now that we're more than nine months into the pandemic, there's a big chance you're feeling Zoom-ed out. Read: Totally overusing the video-conferencing app for school and dance classes—and everything else. And according to dance/movement therapist Erica Hornthal, MA, LCPC, BC-DMT, there's good reason for that: "Managing your environment in a virtual space is taxing on the mind, and therefore taxing on the body."

Hornthal attributes these feelings, in part, to a mind–body disconnect that happens when we use the app: Your body knows you are alone in the room, but your mind sees a group of people on screen—and managing this COVID-era reality can be, well, exhausting. But we can also feel Zoom fatigue, Hornthal says, from having to "constantly be present to the third 'person' in the room: the Zoom camera." Uh, relatable!

So if staring at a grid of fuzzy faces—or into the abyss of that cold, dark lens on your device—has you feeling less than energized, here are some ways to cope.


Take breaks from tech throughout the day

Tamia Strickland, a sophomore in the Ailey/Fordham BFA dance program, trains both in person (with a mask, of course!) and online but says there are unique challenges that come with the latter. For one, she says, it's hard "to stay focused and motivated when you are in your basement or living room staring at a computer screen all by yourself—and all day long." These feelings can lead to frustration: You want to stay engaged with the class, but after staring at your computer screen for so long, you start to feel unmotivated.

As a remedy, Hornthal suggests taking breaks from your tech devices when you can. "The last thing you want to do," she says, "is exit a Zoom session and then immediately jump onto your phone." Instead, take a breather from everything virtual, and give your mind—and body—time to recalibrate. "Create space to connect or reconnect with your body when you are off technology," Hornthal says. "Take a walk, practice mindful breathing, embrace nature."

Move for yourself—and on your own

Another way to overcome feelings of online-class fatigue, Hornthal says, is to find time to move on your own—away from the camera on your device. As you begin moving for yourself, try to recognize and notice your own body wisdom. As a dancer, this could simply mean taking stock of what feels good and natural to your body as you, say, indulge in an improv sesh.

Tim Roberts, a Maryland dance studio owner and former performer, says giving his students time to turn their cameras off and work through their own movement has helped keep them motivated. "Opening that space for them is so necessary­ and beneficial, and helps them appreciate the time they do have with me," he says.

If you're not feeling up to a movement break, consider cooling down the mind and body by taking some time to stretch out and take up space in the body, Hornthal says. By encouraging greater body awareness, stretching can help give you more insight into what your body needs at any given point—a physical check-in before you head back into The Land of Zoom.

Tap into your other senses

When you're on Zoom, you're constantly using your eyes—to learn choreography, to support fellow dancers, to catch physical cues from teachers—so it's important, Hornthal says, to give yourself screen breaks. As you give your eyes a rest, take time to whet your other senses: Squeeze a stress ball; smell the outside air; gulp a tasty green smoothie; listen to your favorite playlist. The key here is to take in stimuli that trigger your other senses, rather than continuing to use (or overuse) your sense of sight.

And as a golden rule for your overall Zoom-life health, always remember: "It isn't just dance that is happening online—our entire lives are virtual," Hornthal says. "That means we have to be intentional with our downtime, and turn off technology, so we can tune in to ourselves."

Photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy Cory Lingner

How Broadway Dancer Cory Lingner Perfected the TikTok Duet

With #SocialDisDancing still very much in place, it's a challenge for dance partners to perform safely, and even harder to perform safely together.

But Broadway's Cory Lingner may have found the solution—on TikTok. He's using the app to tap alongside some of the most iconic movie stars, including Gene Kelly, Gregory Hines, Ann Miller and Shirley Temple. And, no, he doesn't have a time-traveling device.

Lingner has perfected the use of the app's duet feature. On one side of the video is a clip of the tap-dancing icon and on the other is Lingner, dancing in unison. And as a bonus, Lingner's also giving viewers facts about the stars and the performances as they watch.

Lingner's danced in everything from On the Town to An American in Paris, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Carousel. But still, his tapping TikToks may be one of his favorite challenges yet. "I've gotten very lucky to do shows on Broadway," Lingner says, "But I haven't actually gotten to do as much tapping as I'm doing in these videos."

When Broadway shut down last March due to the pandemic, Lingner was in rehearsals for Love Life with New York City Center's Encores! series. Without a stage and a live audience, he's getting his fill of performing from his social media duet series. And it's so popular on TikTok, he's gained more than 8 thousand followers in a mere month.


@corylingner

##duet with @tcm & Gene Kelly!! Couldn’t think of a better way to make my TikTok debut! ##genekelly tapdancechallenge ##tap ##tapdance ##dancechallenge

♬ original sound - Turner Classic Movies

Dance Spirit: How did your "Cory's Duet Series" on TikTok get started?

Cory Lingner: It was kind of just a spur-of-the-moment thing. The very first spark of inspiration was another fellow tapper, Nicole Billow. She actually did the first side-by-side with Gene Kelly from An American in Paris. I watched it and I was like, "This looks really fun." I went ahead and made a TikTok account and made my first duet. I posted that thing with zero followers and by the end of the night, there were 500 followers and it was blowing up with views.

DS: How do you pick which numbers you're going to do?

CL: Well, part of it is going down the YouTube rabbit hole looking up performers that I'm familiar with. The majority of what I've tried to focus on is introducing new performers so I don't repeat dancers too much. The last time that I repeated was with Vera Allen in White Christmas, since it was the holiday.

I also try to find sections where not only I can do the choreography in my limited space, with my little piece of plywood, but also if they're able to stay on a single camera shot for long enough for the 20 to 30 seconds.

DS: How long does it take you to learn the dances?

CL: It depends. If I'm a bit more familiar with it, I can probably pick it up quicker. Sometimes it takes 15 to 30 minutes. One that I worked on that I'm going to share is with Ginger Rogers. That took about an hour and a half. Luckily, I've always been a visual learner.

DS: What do you think about the skill level of some of Shirley Temple's tap steps?

CL: It's remarkable the fact that she did that many films and had that kind of tap dance skill set at such a young age. It is so impressive to me. People were commenting on that video too, writing, "Oh my gosh, I didn't even realize what she can do. That's very impressive."

DS: It seems like we don't see this style of dance anymore, since the Golden Age of the Hollywood movie musical. How do you feel film choreography has changed since then?

CL: This style of dance definitely does feel different. I've always admired it and gravitated towards it. It's fascinating to picture how these choreographers even conceptualized sequences where the stars are dancing all across these sets and sound stages.

I find myself wondering, "Did they have the set to begin with and then worked on it, or did they come up with ideas and then that gave set designers ideas to build?" The rhythms and the tap melodies are pretty bright, and that makes it really fun for me and exciting for anyone watching.

DS: What is some of the feedback you've been getting?

CL: Oh, my goodness. It's so lovely, all the comments and messages. There was a grandmother that said, "I think you just inspired my 3-year-old grandson to start taking dance." It warms my heart. From what I'm reading and seeing, it still resonates with so many people.

DS: What are some dream duets that you need to do?

CL: I've gotten a lot of people up requesting the Nicholas Brothers. They're the best. I'm going to try to see if I can find something to do them justice and try to keep up with them. But with my little piece of plywood, there's no way I can do their iconic jump into the splits because I'd get splinters.

There were other duets people were recommending, like James Cagney. So I'm trying to find a moment when he stays still. I learned "Moses Supposes" from Singin' in the Rain many years ago, which would be really fun to tackle again. Maybe I'd do that one in two separate sections, so I can do one with Gene Kelly and one with Donald O'Connor.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer and choreographer Hope Boykin (center) after teaching a master class at the Center for Civil and Human Rights (Emily Hawkins, courtesy Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater)

4 Dance Works Honoring the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Social justice has a been a prominent theme in many Black American dancemakers' repertoires. Today, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day­—and in the midst of ongoing social and political turmoil in America—this theme carries new resonance.

Dr. King's legacy has spurred the creation of many dance works, with many creators using his words to respond to the social issues of the moment. So, today, in celebration of MLK, Jr. Day, here are four of those dances which honor the legacy of the late civil rights leader.


"r-Evolution, Dream." by Hope Boykin

Set to a soundscape that includes music by jazz musician Ali Jackson, narration by Tony Award-winner Leslie Odom, Jr., "r-Evolution, Dream.," performed by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, debuted in 2017. Choreographer—and Ailey vet—Hope Boykin was inspired to create the piece on a visit to the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. "I got a chance to listen to Dr. King's voice and watch the footage of his funeral with the casket running through the city," Boykin said in an interview with the L.A. Times. Boykin says she was especially stirred by the cadence and sound of his voice.

Moved by the timeliness of Dr. King's teachings (over a half century after he first orated them), Boykin set out to create a ballet that, in effect, translated some of his most famous sermons and teachings into movement. The ensemble piece, which also features solos and sets of pas de deuxs, is a powerful reminder of the long fight ahead for racial equality in America.

"Bodies as a Site of Faith and Protest" by Tommie-Waheed Evans

First performed by Dallas Black Dance Theatre in 2018, "Bodies as Site of Faith and Protest" also transcribes Dr. King's words into dance—only this work zeroes in one particular speech: Dr. King's "We Shall Overcome."

The most resounding imagery in choreographer Tommie-Waheed Evans's work is the clump of dancers at center-center, who march and march with searing purpose oozing from their eyes—yet seem to arrive nowhere. It's as if Evans puts on display the historical, present, and future conditions of the Black American: That the battle for equal protection under the law will be ongoing.

"Dougla" by Geoffrey Holder

In response to the assassination of Dr. King on April 4, 1968, Arthur Mitchell, then a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, felt compelled to take action. His efforts would culminate in the formation of Dance Theatre of Harlem.

The ballet troupe performs everything from classical rep to new works—one of the most iconic is Geoffrey Holder's "Dougla," with movement that depicts the wedding of a Dougla couple, in which one partner is of African descent and the other of Indian descent. The ballet features a spectacle of costume, with a thumping, grounding pulsation of drums beneath movement that, in of itself, is bold and unafraid of making a statement.

Perhaps most memorable about this piece are the moments done in unison, when everything is "working together at once," as Carmen de Lavallade, who helped restage the piece for DTH in 2018, said to theNew York Times. The power in these moments of togetherness conjures scenes of Americans marching in unity for social justice, echoing the very reasons Dr. King worked to lead change before his death.

"Deep Blue Sea" by Bill T. Jones

In an interview with our sister publication Dance Magazine, Jones says the work deals with one overarching question in particular: "Are we really still this beacon, this light on a hill, this conglomerate of disparate groups and stakeholders that we call American democracy?" As a young child, he believed that the Black community could overcome the effects of systematic racism, said Jones to DM. Now, he has less faith—and "Deep Blue Sea" dives into the reasons why.

Intended to be performed at the Park Avenue Armory, the cast included not only the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, but also nearly 100 members of the New York City community.

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