Growing from a history of black aesthetic approach to rhythm, movement and melody of black music, Blues dance often follows a one-step or two-step pattern allowing for a wide variety of musical interpretation. The music can be modern or vintage, but in any case the dance must honor it and reflect the feeling and its often slow, pulsing tempo. Blues can be danced solo or partnered; as a solo dance, Blues allows for free musical expression; as a partnered dance, it is a great opportunity for connection and partnered improvisation. See an example here.

20’s Solo Charleston

The Charleston was born, drawing from both the early century black blues dance and fused with white popular dance elements of the same period. With its upright and perky ‘uptown’ Charleston, or powerful and wild ‘downtown’ varieties, this is the iconic dance of the early jazz era of the 1920’s. Flappers, speak-easies, drop-waisted fringed dresses, and lots of kicks! Once considered scandalously uninhibited, it is energetic and wild in nature, where faster movements are often contrasted with slower, dragging steps and improvisations and musical expression to 1920’s style jazz music. The charleston can also be danced with a partner, mostly in closed position. See an example here.

Authentic Jazz

Drawing from and building on the same origins as Charleston and the Charleston dance itself, the term authentic jazz (/Vernacular Jazz/Jazz Roots /30’s-40’s Solo Charleston) covers all the steps unique to the 1930’s and 1940’s jazz-era repertoire, like the fall-off-the-log, Suzie-Q, low downs, apple-jacks, boogie-drop, Shorty George, trucking and camel walk. This dance is danced solo, and improvised with basic step variations and musical self-expression to 1930’s and 1940’s style jazz & swing music. Learn classical and global jazz routines, or find and create your own authentic style to that jazzy, swinging music. See an example here.

The dance considered the partnered version of this dance is the Lindy hop, which incorporates also partnered aerials (air steps/acrobatic tricks).

Lindy Hop

If you want to learn just one partnered jazz dance, learn this one. Versatile enough to go from slow and classy to the fastest wildest tempos, Lindy hop is the wild partnered dance craze of the 1930’s. Revived in the last decades, Lindy hop incorporates jazz steps, Charleston, and the world’s best dance step: the ‘swing-out. Though famed for its big showy performance ‘aerial’ moves, where one partner throws the other, for the most part it is a ‘social’ dance, and an unusually collaborative one, with lead and follow, in which both partners can contribute a lot to what happens. See an example here or here.

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