Breaking Down The Classic Dance Moves From Most Reserved To Most Rachet

by Elite Daily Staff

You don't have to be a club rat to know that having a signature dance move is the ultimate Saturday night accessory. Winning the "Lord of the Dance" title is the highest compliment we can think of -- it means you have serious skills on and off the dance floor and aren't afraid to be the life of the party.

Even though he's kind of a scumbag, Chris Brown still gets audience appreciation because he's a killer dancer. Half of Beyoncé's famedom is attributed to her impossibly complex choreography and booty shakin' talents. Michael Jackson is remembered by his iconic moon-walk.

While some dance moves are completely PG, we've also been known to get a little dirty dancing style in various underground establishments. We can boogie down to the oldies just as well as when we get low to Lil Wayne. It's all about choosing the right step for the right song.

It's time to face the music: all dance styles are not created equal. Trying to play it safe at your cousin's Bar Mitzvah? Stick with "the shopping cart" and other non-contact knee-bending. Want to leave him panting at your feet? A seductive solo number should do the trick.

We've compiled the most classic dance moves for your disco pleasure and ranked them on a scale of ratchetness from 1-10: 1  for emulating a politically-correct 1950s "Grease" musical play, 5 for being kosher at the kid's party, and 10 for being a turbo twerker à la Miley Cyrus on Robin Thicke's dick.

The Charleston

Doesn't get much safer than this one, fellas. If it was allowed during the Prohibition Era, then it is certainly the most conservative move around. Think of it as history's first crip-walk.

Ratchet Meter 1: With flailing arms and covered-up hemlines, there's just nothing sexy about it.

The Shimmy

Also known as "shaking what your momma gave ya," the shimmy can be seen everywhere from One Direction music videos, to victory dances, to rattling for tips. It's even been used in Zumba fitness classes, go figure. Depending on bust size and intensity, the shimmy can be a very risqué maneuver, so watch where and how you jiggle your juice.

Ratchet Meter 5: There might be titty bouncing involved, but a little shimmy-shake never hurt nobody.


Not to be confused with clowning (which is a less intense version), krumping is highly energetic, expressive movement involving the whole entire body. It's a type of hip-hop dance, involves stomping, and is commonly portrayed in pop culture as "dance battling." Watch the indie documentary, "Rize," which features real street dancers seriously krumping and will make you rethink your next dance-club performance.

Ratchet Meter 8: You don't just 'get buck' in your house -- you take it to the streets, "You Got Served" style. Points increase if you rip your clothes off in the heat of the moment.

Saturday Night Fever

Disco dancing is the pioneer of the pelvic thrust and gives a whole new meaning to boogying down. Throw on a dated tux, play a little Bee Gees and do your best John Travolta impersonation.

Ratchet Meter 3: As long as those thrusts don't turn into humps, you've got nothing to worry about. And keep those fever fingers to yourself.


The vogue became especially popular after Madonna released her early 90s jam with the same name. It's also a personal favorite amongst those who aren't coordinated because it basically involves lots of model poses and hand gesturing. Don't try it at an EDM concert, kids.

Ratchet Meter 2: Unless you're voguing with your penis, this one is harmless.

Pop, Lock And Drop It

The hip-hop 'pop 'n lock' was cool until boy bands started riffing off it. It's pretty much freeze dancing, but with much more muscle control involved. The only time we really enjoy watching a good pop and lock these days are in throwback Missy Elliot music videos with child proteges.

Ratchet Meter 4: It's more aggressive than the robot, but considering the kids in "Honey" are doing it, it's safe for the playground.


We spent the better part of 1995 doing this group dance to every corner of the room. Except for the occasional wedding jam, we really never get to macarena like we used to. Here's to bringing it back, so that our grandkids will be able to dance in circles just like we did.

Ratchet Meter 2: Depending how much you're swinging your hips to the last beat, this has zero potential to be a turn-on.

The Hammertime

We're talking about the O.G. of Old School: The MC Hammer-time. It's a criss-cross meets body roll and it couldn't be more fly. Cue "U Can't Touch This" and some phat back-up dancers and you've got a 90s dance party that would make Will Smith jealous.

Ratchet Meter 6: That body roll isn't for beginners.

The Twist

The move that everyone but a grandparent with bad knees can do! We've been twisting since we learned how to walk. There's nothing to it, all you gotta do is twist.

Ratchet Meter 1: Probably a good ab workout too.

Harlem Shake

This one is a personal favorite for us at Elite Daily. Done correctly (aka not easy for white girls), the Harlem shake can be a real crowd-pleaser. Done poorly and we look like seizuring alcoholics (but we still love it!). We've seen it performed with jerseys, basketballs and other various props and it never fails to be a showstopper. Jiggle your shoulders, rock side to side, and put your swagger on.

Ratchet Meter 9: There's nothing we love more than a Harlem shake dance circle.


We'll always have a special place in our hearts for breakdancers. No party would be complete without a white guy wearing a beanie spinning on his head and doing flips on himself. We get especially pumped up when breakdancers warm-up by running around the dance circle that inevitably forms around them. And we've never witnessed a bad accident to date!

Ratchet Meter 7: You won't find us doing back-flips on hardwood floors.

The Electric Slide

All-time classic. The grapevine will forever be a dance floor staple. Now if only Avicii would remix this business, so we can boogie-boogie all day 'err day.

Ratchet Meter 4: That grapevine is dirty.

Booty Popping

Before Miley Cyrus was twerking all over the place, there was good old fashioned booty popping, where you use your bent elbows to pump your chest forward and ass backwards. Sung about in Bubba Sparxxx "Ms. New Booty," booty popping is all about who can shake it the fastest. If you got a redonk bedonk, you've come to the right place.

Ratchet Meter 9: Booty popping is definitely one for the strip clubs.

Bar Mitzvah Dancing

Parents go wild for this follow-the-leader style dance. Each move lasts for a couple of eight-counts until the college graduate dressed in all black and jacked up on adderall decides to switch to a new variation of "the clap" or some other embarrassingly easy hand movement. Whatever you do, just do what the hired help is doing. And don't be the guy standing on the corner because they will come and force you on to the dance floor.

Ratchet Meter 6: Horny teenagers at their first co-ed party always ends in finger popping on the dance floor.


Also known as freak dancing (depending if you're joking or not), grinding is the new kind of dirty dancing for millennials. It's the quintessential ass-to-crotch bump and grind or -- for the more progressive -- using your man as a pole to rub up and down on almost like having sex under the disco ball. We reserve our grinding skills for dimly lit, hip-hop heavy underground bars.

Ratchet Meter 10: Too much grinding and it turns into baby-making, so use protection.

Moon Walking

The magician's dance move illusion. How do these people just expertly glide across any hard surface? You know what we'd like to see? Moon-walking on the actual moon. Boom! Mind = blown.

Ratchet Meter 7: That sh*t's nasty, yo.

The Crip Walk

Tap dancing for gangsters. Fun fact: MTV wouldn't broadcast any music videos that featured the crip walk because L.A. Crips gang members would perform the signature walk after they killed someone. That's one reason to stop two-stepping. But on a lighter note, Serena Williams was also an avid crip walker after she beat Maria Sharapova at the 2012 Olympics.

Ratchet Meter 8: Crip walking leaves behind many casualties.

The Sock-Hop

Think "American Bandstand" and bopping around in poodle skirts and ponytails to the jukebox. The sock-hop is what we usually find ourselves doing when a teeny-bop song comes on and we feel stupid actually full-on dancing to it. It's raving on a curfew.

Ratchet Meter 1: Teletubbies like to sock-hop too.


The list wouldn't be complete if we didn't include this booty bouncing dance move that's currently all-the-rage amongst YouTubers, wedding crashers and pretty much everyone in America. Just keep your tongue in your mouth and there shouldn't be any problems. Ratchet Meter 10: Only genuinely ratchet b*tches twerk; for everything else there's MasterCard.