© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2022

How did Disco change the world?

Breanna Shaw
Luca Tautari
disco header image
Disco Dance Floor  ibiza-spotlight.com

Disco was never designed to grow old gracefully. More than four decades have now passed since its sound and style became globally recognised.


Disco was an influential movement in the late 60’s and the 70’s.  It was the creation of many things, one of which being social dancing.

It was a huge time and moment in history where instead of dancing with the opposite gender people were now able to dance with anyone. They could dance how they wanted to, they could dance by themselves in freeform, and they could dance to express who they were.

Disco dancing was originally an underground form of dance, done mainly by Hispanics, blacks and gays. When Saturday Night Fever was released it turned from an underground movement into masses flocking to the clubs to experience the narrative the movie pushed.

Many significant dances to come out of the disco era were the Hustle, the Electric Slide, and the Bump.




Fashion during the Disco era was a dramatic shift from the fashion of the 60's.

From painting their whole bodies silver and gold, wearing spandex and sparkly metallic trapunto, 

Some people painted their whole bodies in silver and gold. Others wore modern ensembles of spandex and sparkly metallic trapunto or stripped down to almost nothing on the dance floor. Studio 54's "VIP" normal Rollerena showed up daily in drag… a Fairy Godmother character in vintage dress, feline eye glasses, wand, and roller skates. Many people loved the fashion and embraced it as a lifestyle, many adored the exotic dresses and other outfits which helped bring disco to life. But when you think disco attire many people think of John Travolta’s 3-piece suit from Saturday night fever. 

Disco Fashion in the 1970s 1



Disco was a huge leap for the music industry with many people creating amazing music such as Donna Summer, Rick James and many other disco legends.

These people created a foundation on what music is today with many artists and musical groups drawing inspiration from them, for example recently split electronic dance group Daft Punk gained most of their inspiration from the time of disco and incorporated it into their music. They used funky disco beats to get people moving, this type of musical genre is called house which originally stems from disco.

This just goes to show that even though the era of disco was short it has proven itself as one of the greatest and most influential times for the musical industry and for the people. A time where freedom and expression was big and its has continued to inspire others to carry on disco legacy.