Dance is a universal language that can communicate mood, meaning, and message wordlessly.  Is it any wonder then, that in digital age, dance GIFs have boomed as a popular means of connecting and expressing online? In this blog post, we’ll look at all the top dance GIFs and dig into a bit of the pop culture context and lore. Just hover over each GIF to find the shareable original!

Happy Dance GIF

In this beloved scene from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Carlton dances to “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones. The “Carlton Dance” or “Happy Dance” is it’s own pop culture phenomenon, with a Dancing with the Stars winner imitating the dance for one of his performances on the show, and popular video game Fortnite adding the Carlton Dance as a character emote. According to the Fresh Prince Fandom Wiki, the dance “was inspired by two different dances: One that Courteney Cox does after Bruce Springsteen pulls her up on stage in the music video for “Dancing in the Dark” and one that Eddie Murphy does during his “White Man Dance” routine from Eddie Murphy Raw.”

Wednesday Dance GIF

Wednesday the TV series, from auteur Tim Burton, is now the most popular show in the history of Netflix, recently beating out Stranger Things. Actress Jenna Ortega choreographed the number and dug into some dance history for inspiration. She notes pulling from the original Wednesday of the Adams Family film, played by Lisa Loring, as well as “archival footage of goth kids dancing in the 80s.”

Elaine Dance GIF

Any Seinfeld fans? Even if you’ve never seen a single episode of the iconic comedy series, chances are you’re familiar with this scene. Through the popularization of this GIF, the infamous Elaine Dance is introduced to new generation. Isn’t that the real beauty of the internet?

Bill Hader SNL GIF

Now this GIF is having a real moment online, especially on TikTok. The Bill Hader Dancing GIF actually originates from an unaired SNL sketch from 2015, where Bill Hader played a character named Alan. Bill Hader’s body is now being superimposed on a variety of backgrounds to make different jokes by online creators, usually capitalizing on the coy and irreverent vibe of Hader’s movement.

Friday Dance GIF

This is just a classic, right? TGIF!

Dance Party GIF

Possibly the most GIF’d (is that a verb?) show of all time, this The Office GIF features Oscar, Daryl, and Kevin hosting a spontaneous dance party amidst flashing neon lights. I can’t think of a situation where this GIF isn’t relevant.

Funny Dance GIFs

This GIF is a deserved member of the Internet Hall of Fame. Dubbed “The Crazy Frog Brothers,” this clip originates from a 2006 Youtube home video featuring two brother dancing (…eccentrically) to Axel F’s “Crazy Frog.” This GIF is endlessly shared and re-shared and has inspired countless parodies and imitations.

Cat Dance GIF

This cat is a double-threat dancer and DJ. That’s all the context I have, and maybe all you need?

Let’s Take This Offline

Don’t just limit your dance expression to the internet, get out there! With a starter pair of tap shoes and a comfy Bloch crop top, you’re reading for a viral clip of your very own. Or,  just a regular adult dance class in your area.