Dancehall first referred to a space in which people gathered to consume different forms of popular music including R&B, Rocksteady, Reggae, Pop and later Hip Hop. The name Dancehall became associated with a genre of Jamaican popular music around the late 1970s. Initially dancehall was a more sparse version of reggae, which has themes of politics and religion but not as directly as roots style, which was associated with the Rastafari movement, and had dominated much of the 1970s. In the mid-1980s, Dancehall digital instrumentation became more prevalent, changing the sound considerably, with digital dancehall (or "ragga") becoming increasingly characterized by faster rhythms. In the mid-1990s with the rise of dancehall BoboShanti artists, such as Sizzla and Capleton, developed a very strong connection between dancehall and Rastafari.
Dancehall music has come under criticism from international organizations and individuals for its violent and sometimes anti-homosexual lyrics, although the lyrical themes are more varied than simply dealing with slackness and violence. ancehall owes its moniker to the Jamaican dance halls in which popular Jamaican recordings were played by local sound systems.
The popularity of dancehall has spawned dance moves that help to make parties and stage performances more energetic. Many dance moves seen in hip-hop videos are actually variations of dancehall dances. Examples of such dances are: "Like Glue","Pon de floor", "Pon de Replay", "Tek Weh Yuhself", "Whine Up" (a mix of various genres), "Boosie Bounce", "Drive By", "Shovel It", "To Di World", "Dutty Wine", "Sweep", and "Daggering" amongst many others.