Dance Styles

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Charleston

The Charleston is a social jazz dance that originated in 1924. The Charleston is characterized by quick, twisting steps performed as a solo, with a partner, or in a group. The basic steps of the Charleston allow dancers to add their personal style, personality and musicality to the dance

The Charleston was one of the dances from which Lindy Hop and Jazz Roots developed in the late 1930s. A slightly different form of Charleston became popular in the 1930s and '40s, and is associated with Lindy Hop. In this later Charleston form, the hot jazz timing of the 1920s Charleston was adapted to suit the swing jazz music of the '30s and '40s. This style of Charleston has many common names, though the most common are Lindy Charleston, Savoy Charleston, '30s or '40s Charleston and Swing(ing) Charleston. In both '20s Charleston and Swinging Charleston, the basic step takes eight counts and is danced either alone or with a partner.

Today Charleston is an important dance in Lindy Hop dance culture, danced in many permutations: alone (solo), with a partner, or in groups of couples or solo dancers. The basic step allows for a vast range of variations and improvisation. Both the 1920s and Swinging Charleston styles are popular today, though swinging Charleston is more commonly integrated into Lindy Hop dancing.

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