Dancer, writer and broadcaster Deborah Bull looks at moments when dance has been a vital part of the national expression of resilience or, at the very least, an opportunity for escape.
We hear how, during the Second World War, men and women all over Britain turned garrisons, factories and air raid shelters into dance halls, taking up novelty dances like the Siegfried Line Dance, the Blackout Stroll and the Gas Mask Dance. And we discover how the arrival of the GIs, along with the jive, taught the nation a new way to dance.
After trying some jive herself, Deborah looks at Northern soul, punk and acid house as responses to the harsh economic realities and urban decline of the 1970s and 80s.
And what about now? Deborah asks what effect today's hard times might turn out to have on the way we dance.
Producer: Hannah Rosenfelder
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.