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Everybody’s Doing the Charleston!

Posted 21st May, 2010 by

Oh how I love to charleston!  Often when I tell people about what kind of dancing I do, I’m met with blank stares, lots of questions and it may even require a demonstration.  So here is a little education for you.  Charleston is a dance that was at the height of it’s popularity in the 1920’s.  It’s origins are within the African American dance community but it quickly spread and became the thing to do on a night out for anyone and everyone.  It was the cat’s pyjamas and the bee’s knees.  It was the perfect dance for the times.  New and crazy, it quickly became associated with the young wild things know as flappers who applied makeup in public, bobbed their hair and wore clothes that their Victorian parents considered scandalous.  It really was a turning point in history in so many ways.  Here is a little clip of some flappers having a rollicking good time doing the charleston.

You can do it one you own as solo charleston/jazz or with a partner (I always get really excited when I’m dancing with a gent and he breaks into partner charleston).  It is actually the dance that became breakaway which became lindy hop. Naturally I also adore the style of the 1920’s as well.  I really need to start working on wearing my hair in 20’s styles more often.  So chic!  Dressing up to charleston is half the fun of it!

Here is my current favourite modern charleston clip from the International Lindy Hop Championships last year.  It features my two charleston crushes, Evita Arce and Michael Jagger (he doesn’t seem to update this site very often but it is worth going over there to see the picture of him dresses as Mugatu.  It made me smile).  They are both so vaudevillian and just pretty much all round awesome!  It also stars our own Bonnie Fox (aka Sharon Davis) who has the most lovely feminine style that I can only dream of replicating.  She now travels the world performing and teaching with the Killer Dillers (of whom Evita is also a  member).  Actually, all of the Killer Dillers are in this clip! Hilarity!  The other guy is Hurley Francois who I could watch dance all day.  He’s another one of my charleston loves.

Charleston really is super fun!  We actually teach it so if you wanted to come and learn you totally can!  I think the new course starts this week actually!  It’s taught by the wonderful Dakota Peaches (as her name suggests, she really is a peach!).  Or if you aren’t from Perthland (as so many people aren’t) we have a great DVD again featuring our Bonnie (I’m my head I say this with a rich Scottish brogue).   I actually use the DVD all the time when I am choreographing new routines for a little inspiration.  I’m using it at the moment for a routine for the finale of a show next year (know it’s a little early but I am super, super excited about it already)!

Stay tuned poppets!


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