TikTok seems tailor-made for dancers. The app's short-form video format makes it easy to show off your best moves to a song that's gone viral. And an algorithm that favors unknown users means up-and-coming dancers have a better chance of reaching a large audience than they might on Instagram or YouTube.
Dance challenges are especially popular on TikTok, with over one billion views for the hashtag #DanceChallenge alone. Even people who've never heard of the platform know about campaigns like #TheGitUpChallenge, which started on TikTok, spilled over into Instagram and YouTube, and ultimately helped propel musical artist Blanco Brown to stardom.
The growing trend has had a wide-ranging impact on both the music and dance communities. Rising rapper Ambjaay's song "Uno" went viral on TikTok this past summer thanks in part to the #UnoDanceChallenge. "It's given me more fans and a bigger fan base, and I've been able to build more relationships and meet more people," Ambjaay says. "Dance gave the song more room to grow and create a different way to have fun."
Here are five of the best, most influential TikTok dance challenges.
Uno Dance Challenge
Ambjaay used his viral moment to create opportunities for more artists with his #UnoDanceChallenge, which also made waves on Instagram. The rapper teamed up with DanceOn to give aspiring pros a chance to win a spot in his next video by perfecting some short choreography to his single. He even continued the challenge on a local level by collaborating with NYC-based choreographer Jona Biddle to host an open workshop for kids wanting to get in on the fun.
Dip and Lean Challenge
The #DipAndLeanChallenge is basically a compilation of every viral dance you can think of (the Milly Rock, the Floss, the Dougie), set to rapper BlacKlout's "DIP & Lean." While the challenge was created by the Young Black Kings, who are featured on the song, it looks lit got its dance moves from Dragon House crew member Brandon "Bam" Morales. The challenge has already amassed over 300,000 views on TikTok, and BlacKlout has also started giving his favorites a shoutout on Instagram.
Hit Every Beat Challenge
"World of Dance" contestant James Derrick seems to be the originator of this tricky challenge, which focuses on isolated movements and musicality and has racked up more than 40 million views. While most TikTok dance challenges have a designated song, the beauty of the #HitEveryBeatChallenge is that you can use whatever beat you like.
Dance for Change
Dance challenges have become so popular that even the United Nations decided to get in on the trend, harnessing it to encourage global change. This past spring, the institution teamed up with choreographer Sherrie Silver and "Freedom" singer Mr Eazi to start the #DanceForChange challenge. Submissions were used as a virtual dance petition, calling on global leaders to increase funding for agriculture.
Kill This Love Challenge
OK, yes, K-pop girl group BLACKPINK had a huge following well before TikTok took off. But their choreographed routines were made to be watched on repeat and recreated at home. The TikTok reaction to their single "Kill This Love," featuring choreo by Kyle Hanagami, shows the other side of the dance challenge universe, in which a popular music video spawns multiple challenges. (We're not entirely sure if the TikTok #KillThisLoveChallenge inspired BLACKPINK's official YouTube challenge for the song, but we do know that we'll never get tired of watching submissions.)