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Encyclopedia > Charleston (dance)
Josephine Baker dancing the Charleston at the Folies Bergère, Paris, in 1926
A USPS stamp from the Celebrate the Century series: Flappers Doing the Charleston by John Held Jr.

The Charleston is a dance named for the city of Charleston, South Carolina. The rhythm is a traditional one from West Africa, popularized in mainstream dance music in the United States of America by a 1923 tune called The Charleston by composer/pianist James P. Johnson which originated in the Broadway show Runnin' Wild and became one of the most popular hits of the decade. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (829 × 1105 pixel, file size: 100 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Charleston (dance) ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (829 × 1105 pixel, file size: 100 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Charleston (dance) ... Josephine Baker, c. ... Flapper style, from USPS Celebrate the Century series From artwork by John Held not public domain (See Public_domain_image_resources#U.S._postage_stamps) This image is a postage stamp produced by the United States Postal Service after 1978. ... Flapper style, from USPS Celebrate the Century series From artwork by John Held not public domain (See Public_domain_image_resources#U.S._postage_stamps) This image is a postage stamp produced by the United States Postal Service after 1978. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... John Held Jr. ... Dance (from French danser, perhaps from Frankish) generally refers to movement used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting. ... Nickname: Motto: Aedes Mores Juraque Curat (She cares for her temples, customs, and rights) Location of Charleston in South Carolina. ...  Western Africa (UN subregion)  Maghreb[1] West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. ... Year 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... James Price Johnson (February 1, 1894 - November 17, 1955) was a pianist and composer. ... Broadway theatre[1] is the most prestigious form of professional theatre in the U.S., as well as the most well known to the general public and most lucrative for the performers, technicians and others involved in putting on the shows. ...


While it developed in African-American communities in the USA, the Charleston became a popular dance craze in the wider international community in the 1920s. Despite its black history, Charleston is most frequently associated with white flappers and the speakeasy. Here, these young women would dance alone or together as a way of mocking the "drys," or citizens who supported the Prohibition amendment, as Charleston was then considered quite immoral and provocative. The 1920s is a decade that is sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ... The term flapper, which became common slang in the 1920s, referred to a new breed of young women who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered decent behavior. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The term Prohibition, also known as A Dry Law, refers to a law in a certain country by which the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted or illegal. ...


Charleston was one of the dances from which Lindy Hop developed in the 1930s, though the Breakaway (dance) is popularly considered an intermediary dance form. 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 8 counts and was danced either alone or with a partner. Dancing the Lindy hop at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Sacramento, California, USA (2006) Lindy Hop is an African American dance that evolved in New York City in the late 1920s and early 1930s. ... From 1919 to 1927, Breakaway was a popular swing dance developed from the Texas Tommy. ... Dancing the Lindy hop at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Sacramento, California, USA (2006) Lindy Hop is an African American dance that evolved in New York City in the late 1920s and early 1930s. ... Jazz is a musical art form that originated in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States around the start of the 20th century. ... Swing music, also known as swing jazz, is a form of jazz music that developed during the 1920s and had solidified as a distinctive style by 1935 in the United States. ...

Contents

Charleston today

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. Dancing the Lindy hop at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Sacramento, California, USA (2006) Lindy Hop is an African American dance that evolved in New York City in the late 1920s and early 1930s. ...


Solo

Charleston can be danced solo, its simple, flexible basic step making it easy to concentrate on styling, improvisation and musicality. Improvisation is the practice of acting and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of ones immediate environment. ... Musicality means making the dance fit the music. ...


Whichever style of Charleston one chooses, whether dancing alone, with a partner, or in groups, the basic step resembles the natural movement of walking, though it is usually performed in place. The arms swing forward and backwards, with the right arm coming forward as the left leg 'steps' forward, and then moving back as the opposite arm/leg begin their forwards movement. Toes are not pointed, but feet usually form a right angle with the leg at the ankle. Arms are usually extended from the shoulder, either with straight lines, or more frequently with bent elbows and hands at right angles from the wrist (characteristics of many African dances). Styling varies with each Charleston type from this point, though all utilise a 'bounce'. An animated demonstration of a six-legged insect walking. ... The term African dance refers mainly to the dances of subsaharan and West Africa. ...


Solo 20s Charleston

Solo 20s Charleston has recently gained popularity in many local Lindy Hop scenes around the world, prompted by competitions such as the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown (in 2005 and 2006 particularly) and workshops in the dance taught by high profile dancers such as the Harlem Hot Shots (formerly known as the The Rhythm Hot Shots) and a range of independent dancers. Usually danced to jazz music recorded or composed in the 1920s, 20s solo Charleston is styled quite differently to the Charleston associated with the 1930s, 1940s and Lindy Hop, though they are structurally similar. Dancing the Lindy hop at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Sacramento, California, USA (2006) Lindy Hop is an African American dance that evolved in New York City in the late 1920s and early 1930s. ... The Rhythm Hot Shots were a Swedish performance dance company founded in 1985 and specialising in African American dance. ... The Rhythm Hot Shots are a Lindy Hop perfomance company from Sweden, founded in 1985. ... Jazz is a musical art form that originated in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States around the start of the 20th century. ... The 1920s is a decade that is sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ... Face The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Solo 20s Charleston is usually danced to music at comparatively high tempos (usually above 200 beats per minute, with tempos above 300 BPM considered 'fast'), and is characterised by high-energy dancing. Faster movements are often contrasted with slower, dragging steps and improvisations. The first two measures of Mozarts Sonata XI, which indicates the tempo as Andante grazioso and the metronome marking as = 120. (Metronome markings were not used in Mozarts day. ... Beats per minute (bpm) is a unit typically used as either a measure of tempo in music, or a measure of ones heart rate. ...


As it is danced today, solo 20s Charleston often combines not only steps from dances associated with the 1920s (such as the Black Bottom and the Cakewalk), but also jazz dance. The most valued form of solo 20s Charleston combines choreography with improvisation and creative variations on familiar dance steps. Above all, the most popular and most "successful" solo 20s Charleston dancers respond to the music in creative ways to express themselves. Black Bottom is a dance that was popularized in the 1920s in New York City during the Flapper era. ... Cakewalk is a traditional African American form of music and dance which originated among slaves in the US South. ... Jazz dancers. ...


Solo 20s Charleston is often danced in groups on the social dance floor or in formal choreography.


Solo 20s Charleston Competition

Solo 20s Charleston competitions often utilise elements of the jam circle format, where individual competitors take turns dancing alone for the audience (usually for intervals of a phrase or number of phrases). Competitors move forwards to the audience out of an informal line, usually taking advantage of this movement to perform 'strolls' or other 'travelling' steps, taking the opportunity to "shine". Jamming in dance culture is a kind of informal show-off during a social dance party. ... In music a phrase is a section of music that is relatively self contained and coherent over a medium time scale. ...


Despite the emphasis on solo dancing in these sorts of competitions, there is often much interaction between competitors and between the audience and competitors, frequently in the employment of comic devices (such as "silly walks" or impersonations) or showy and physically impressive "stunt" moves. This type of interaction is typical of the call and response of West African and Afro-American music and dance. In this call and response, audiences and fellow competitors encourage dancers with cheers, shouts, applause, physical gestures and other feedback. In music, a call and response is a succession of two distinct phrases usually played by different musicians, where the second phrase is heard as a direct commentary on or response to the first. ...


This sort of competition structure is increasingly popular in Lindy Hop communities around the world, providing added challenges for dancers, new types of pleasure for audiences and emphasising social dancing skills such as improvisation and musicality. This structure also echoes the cutting contests of jazz music which Ralph Ellison describes in his stories about live jazz music in the 1930s. Dancing the Lindy hop at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Sacramento, California, USA (2006) Lindy Hop is an African American dance that evolved in New York City in the late 1920s and early 1930s. ... Improvisation is the practice of acting and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of ones immediate environment. ... Musicality means making the dance fit the music. ... Ralph Ellison (March 1, 1913[1] – April 16, 1994) was a scholar and writer. ... Jazz is a musical art form that originated in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States around the start of the 20th century. ...


Partner Charleston

Partner Charleston uses the basic step described above, though stylistic changes over the 1920s, 30s and 40s affected the styling, as well as ways of holding a partner. Traditionally partner charleston was danced by a man and woman, but now - as then - men and women dance together, though women more frequently.


20s Partner Charleston

In 20s partner Charleston couples stand facing each other in a traditional European partner dancing pose, often referred to as closed position which aids leading and following. The leader's right hand is placed on the follower's back between their shoulder blades. The follower's left hand rests on the leader's shoulder or biceps. The leader's left hand and the follower's right hand are clasped palm to palm, held either at shoulder height or higher. Partners may maintain space between their bodies or dance with their torsos touching. The basic step is for the leader to touch their left foot behind them, but not to shift their weight, on counts 1 and 2, while the follower mirrors the motion by touching their right foot in front of them without shifting weight. On counts 3 and 4, both partners bring their feet back to a standing position, but shift their weight onto the foot they have just moved. On counts 5 and 6, the leader touches their right foot in front of themselves while the follower touches their left foot back. On 7 and 8, both feet are brought back to the standing position where the necessary weight shift occurs to allow the basic step to repeat. Partner dances are the dances whose basic choreography involves coordinated dancing of two partners, as opposed to individuals dancing alone or individually in a non-coordinated manner, and as opposed to groups of people dancing simultaneously in a coordinated manner. ... In couple dancing, closed position is a category of positions in which partners hold each other while facing at least approximately toward each other. ... In partner dancing, the two partners are labelled as the leader and the follower, or lead and follow. ...


30s and 40s Partner Charleston

30s and 40s Partner Charleston involves a number of positions, including "jockey position", where closed position is opened out so that both partners may face forward, without breaking apart. In couple dancing, closed position is a category of positions in which partners hold each other while facing at least approximately toward each other. ...


In "side-by-side" Charleston partners open out the closed position entirely, so that their only points of connection are at their touching hips, and where the lead's right hand and arm touch the follower's back, and the follower's left hand and arm touch the leader's shoulder and arm. Both partners then swing their free arms as they would in solo Charleston. In both jockey and side-by-side Charleston the leader steps back onto their left foot, while the follower steps back onto their right. In "tandem Charleston" one partner stands in front of the other (usually the follower, though the arrangement may vary), and both step back onto their left feet to begin. The partner behind holds the front partner's hands at their hip height, and their joined arms swing backwards and forwards as in the basic step. In couple dancing, closed position is a category of positions in which partners hold each other while facing at least approximately toward each other. ... Connection is essential to all partner dancing. ...


There are numerous other variations on these holds, including "hand-to-hand" Charleston, and countless variations on the footwork (including Johnny's Drop, freezes, Savoy kicks and so on). Names for each vary in different local lindy hop scenes, though most have historic names associated with their creators or people in the community of the day. A B-Boy performing a one-handed freeze. ... Dancing the Lindy hop at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Sacramento, California, USA (2006) Lindy Hop is an African American dance that evolved in New York City in the late 1920s and early 1930s. ...


Groups

In swing dance or Lindy Hop communities today, both solo 20s Charleston and solo swinging Charleston are often danced in groups arranged in a loose circle on the social dance floor, in two long lines of facing dancers (evenly spaced) or in other formations in more strictly choreographed performances. Swing is a group of related street dances, that evolved from Lindy Hop. ... Dancing the Lindy hop at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Sacramento, California, USA (2006) Lindy Hop is an African American dance that evolved in New York City in the late 1920s and early 1930s. ... Social dance is a major category or classification of danceforms or dance styles, where sociability and socializing are the primary focuses of the dancing. ...


They may choose to follow steps 'called' either by a designated caller or by each dancer in turn. In this called context, the group perform the same step for a Phrase (music), or until the new step is "called". Individual dancers often improvise within the structure of the called step, bringing their own personal "flavour". The term caller may refer to one of the following: Caller (telecommunications), a party that originates a call Caller (dance), a person that calls dance figures in round dances and square dances This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the... In music a phrase is a section of music that is relatively self contained and coherent over a medium time scale. ...


There are many local variations on this group dancing, including the following. One person will typically call out a variation (such as turning 360 degrees in place on counts 5-8), which is then done by everyone beginning the next measure and again for the following 2 measures. If the caller doesn't call another step immediately, the dancers return to the (default) basic step. Switching sides is sometimes called, upon which the dancers hop on the left foot across to the other side on counts 5-8, turning 180 degrees to the left. In musical notation, a bar or measure is a segment of time defined as a given number of beats of a given duration. ...


In the more casual social group context, individual dancers may choose to dance "alone", improvising in response to the music or copying dancers around them.


Tap Charleston

Tap Charleston (1925 to 1926): Leonard Reed was said to have invented Tap Charleston after he learned tap in 1925. Tap Charleston was the Charleston with breaks into open position to do tap steps. The connection between Breakaway and Tap Charleston is murky. It could be the same thing attributed to Leonard Reed or something else. Year 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... From 1919 to 1927, Breakaway was a popular swing dance developed from the Texas Tommy. ...


Depictions in media

Its a Wonderful Life is a 1946 film produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on the short story, The Greatest Gift written by Philip Van Doren Stern. ... Jimmy Stewart, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1934 James Maitland Stewart (May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997) was an American film actor beloved for his persona as an average guy who faces adversity and tries to do the right thing, an image which was largely reflected in his own... Main title caption from Dallas. ... The Cats Meow is a 2001 American film released in 2002. ... Kirsten[1] Caroline Dunst (born April 30, 1982) is a Golden Globe-nominated American actress, known for her roles in Interview with the Vampire, The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, and Bring It On, as well as Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man film series. ... June 14 is the 165th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (166th in leap years), with 200 days remaining. ... 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... Kyra Sedgwick (born August 19, 1965) is an Emmy nominated American actress. ... Late Night with Conan OBrien is an American late night talk show on NBC, that is also syndicated worldwide. ... Conan Christopher OBrien (born April 18, 1963)[1] is an Emmy-winning American television personality best known as host of NBCs late-night talk/variety show Late Night with Conan OBrien. ...

See also

Wikibooks Swing Dancing has a page on the topic of
Charleston

Image File history File links Wikibooks-logo-en. ... Wikibooks logo Wikibooks, previously called Wikimedia Free Textbook Project and Wikimedia-Textbooks, is a wiki for the creation of books. ... Dancing the Lindy hop at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Sacramento, California, USA (2006) Lindy Hop is an African American dance that evolved in New York City in the late 1920s and early 1930s. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Charleston (dance) - Search Results - MSN Encarta (261 words)
Danced as a solo, with a partner, or in a group, it is marked...
Charleston Cosmetology Institute, Charleston Southern University, Charleston Southern University, Charleston Southern University, Graduate...
The Charleston dance became popular after appearing along with the song, "The Charleston," by James P. Johnson in the Broadway musical [i]Runnin' Wild[/i] in 1923.
charleston, dance. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05 (174 words)
The charleston is characterized by outward heel kicks combined with an up-and-down movement achieved by bending and straightening the knees in time to the syncopated 4/4 rhythm of ragtime jazz.
The steps are thought to have originated with the fls living on a small island near Charleston, S.C. Performed in Charleston as early as 1903, the dance made its way into Harlem stage shows by 1913.
Both dance and song, expressive of the reckless daring, abandon, and restlessness of the jazz-age flappers, soon became the rage throughout the United States.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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