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The Charleston

The history

According to some sources a dance like Charleston has been around in the 19th century, but it wasn't till the 1920's that the golden era of this dance had started. It was the time of the Ragtime music and it soon spread all around the world. Afroamericans are supposed to evolve this dance from the previous variations. They had a big part in a history of swing dances, one of the first form that spread the world was Cake Walk, but that is not the topic of this site.

According to some historians people started dancing the Charleston in vaccinity of the city Charleston in South Carolina in the U.S. Others say it somec from west Africa. Well, people probably started dancing it already at the break of the century in the south of U.S.A. Then the dance slowly started to get knowv via numerous shows and it was soon tagged as the fastest dance in the world. It became really known in the 1920's. The women dancing this dance were called "Flappers" because they were flaffing with their hands while dancing it, just like birds flap their wings.

Charleston dance also had a big part in the rebellion against traditional ways and represented a will to be free and wild and the need of people to express themselves in public instead of living by the norms of society.

Charleston today

Today learning how to dance Charleston is almost obligatory for all swing dancers, since it has a big influence on Lindy Hop and other swing dances. Charleston can be danced solo (solo Charleston) or with a partner (partnered Charleston) and offers a chance fot the dancers to improvise a lot. On several dance workshops around the globe Solo Charleston dance competitions are held.

I had the privilege to teach people thad never danced swing before how to dance the Charlestonon several occasions in the past. I found out that many people know what charleston is and know the basic step. This shows how popular the dance really was and still is. So dance it and enjoy, it is not too difficult but a lot of fun! And you really have a chance to get your body fit while dancing it.

 

Charleston video clips

Old footage - how the masters danced Charleston

This clip was made around 1935, and shows how the dancers of that time danced the dance. It's all about keeping the right balance and understanding how the body works while flapping around with hands and legs.

Charleston mix

Another older video clip. Watching old clips always inspired me.

Charleston for Guinness

This is another Charleston dance routine to this famous song we did few years ago. Sure we can dance the Charleston also in closed position, but in open in gives us lots of freedom in our movement both for male and female dancers.

Also check out other swing dances: Lindy Hop, EC six count swing, Collegiate Shag, Balboa

 


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