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A sock hop was an informal sponsored dance event at American high schools, typically held in the high school's own gym or cafeteria. The term, current in the latter half of the 20th century, came about because dancers were required to remove their hard-soled shoes to protect the varnished floor of the gymnasium. These hops were a cultural feature of the 1950s and early rock and roll. The music at a sock hop was usually played from vinyl records, sometimes presented by a disc jockey. Occasionally there were also live bands. Danny and the Juniors sang "At the Hop" in 1957 which named many popular dances and otherwise documented what happened at a hop. The term record hop is generally synonymous with sock hop.
In subsequent decades, with the widespread popularity of sneakers and other types of indoors-only shoes, the practice of removing shoes was dropped and the term began to be applied more generally to any informal high school dance. The term caught on in England in the late 1980s during a British rockabilly revival, led by groups like The Stray Cats. Life Begins at the Hop, a song celebrating sock hops, became the first charting single for XTC.
- Sokkie -- a similar idea in South Africa
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