Charleston (dance)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Type: Single dance , couple dance
Music: Swing , big band
Time signature : 4/4 time
Tempo: 50-75 ++ TPM
Origin: United States
Creation time: 1920s
List of dances
Josephine Baker dances the Charleston at the Folies Bergère in Paris , 1926

The Charleston (also: 20s Charleston ) is an American ballroom dancing of the 20th century. It was named after the port city of Charleston in South Carolina . The jazz melody The Charleston , composed by the pianist and composer James P. Johnson and first performed in the Broadway musical Running Wild in 1923 , made dance popular in the United States and around the world. He became known in Europe in 1925 through Josephine Baker .

Although the dance originally of African Americans has been developed, he could in the United States as "white" ballroom dancing establish. It is associated with flappers and speakeasy bars. There women danced alone or together, among other things to mock the USA's alcohol prohibition . This led to the dance being considered provocative and immoral.

A dance description from 1925 cites:

The torso is shaking, as are the movements of the hips, thighs and buttocks. The hands are also active, touching all parts of the body as if in ecstasy. In addition there are the alternating knock knees and bow legs, connected with the knees and feet turned outwards and inwards. The dancer can bend his back or even crouch.

The Charleston is a relatively fast dance at 50 to 75 beats per minute. The basis for the dance are isolated movements. This means that you are able to touch individual body parts, e.g. B. arms and legs to move separately from each other. Rowing with the arms and X / O combinations with the legs are typical of the Charleston. With the onset of the Great Depression, dance slowly disappeared.

The lindy hop , a swing dance of the 1930s and 1940s, has borrowed elements of the Charleston. A modified form of the Charleston dance was danced to swing jazz in the 1930s and 1940s . It had several names, the best known are Lindy Charleston , Savoy Charleston , 30s or 40s Charleston and Swing (ing) Charleston . In order to better differentiate these terms, the original Charleston is therefore also referred to as the 20s Charleston .


  • Mark Knowles: The Wicked Waltz and other Scandalous Dances: Outrage at Couple Dancing in the 19th and early 20th Centuries . McFarland 2009, ISBN 978-0-7864-3708-5 , pp. 133-176 ( excerpt (Google) )

Web links

Commons : Charleston  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Charleston  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations