By the 1890s there was a huge increase in the popularity of social and folk dance forms. Many working class dances were taken up by members of high society and dancing lessons became fashionable. Society ladies began to learn folk dances such as jigs, hornpipes, Spanish dance and step dancing.

Many different types of dance evolved on the stages of popular theatres in the 19th century. In the 1870s and 1880s, skirt dancing was the fashion. Tap dancing and soft shoe routines were made popular by the Black musical, In Dahomey, and other American musicals to visit London.