If you talk to a musician, the Ragtime Era began sometime in the 1880s and extended into the 1930s; referring to the period when the most and/or best ragtime music was written. Some hard core ragtime musicians maintain that Ragtime Era has not yet ended.

To a dancer such as myself, the Ragtime Era is much narrower, from perhaps 1912 to 1916; referring to was was arguably the largest dance craze the USA has ever experienced. Ignited by Vernon and Irene Castle, ragtime dances, such as Animal Dances, One Step, Tango, Maxixe, Waltz and Hesitation Waltz drove the whole country Dancing Mad. Somewhere in the midst of World War I many people lost their enthusiasm for dancing, and most of the others decided that any dances done before the war were old-fashioned, and should be replaced with new dances. There was rather a lull in social dance until the Charleston came along, but that's another node.

Ragtime dances were sometimes dances to ragtime music, but just as often they were not.