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Charleston original pen and ink and watercolour illustration by Rosie Brooks

Charleston original pen and ink and watercolour illustration by Rosie Brooks

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The Charleston dance is a lively and energetic dance that originated in the 1920s during the "Roaring Twenties" in the United States. It became popular in the dance halls of Charleston, South Carolina, and quickly spread throughout the country and beyond, becoming one of the most iconic dances of the era.

The Charleston is characterized by its fast-paced, syncopated footwork and wild arm movements. The basic step involves kicking the legs forward and backward while twisting the knees and swiveling the hips. The arms swing freely and sometimes flap like wings. The dance is known for its exuberant and carefree style, reflecting the spirit of the Jazz Age.

The Charleston gained widespread popularity due to its association with the flapper culture of the 1920s. Flappers were young women who challenged traditional societal norms by embracing shorter skirts, bobbed hairstyles, and a more liberated lifestyle. The Charleston dance perfectly matched the spirit of the flapper movement, with its energetic and rebellious nature.

The dance became a sensation and was featured in numerous stage shows, films, and ballrooms across the United States. It even spread internationally, becoming a global phenomenon. The Charleston influenced other dance styles and helped pave the way for the development of swing dancing.

Although its popularity waned after the 1920s, the Charleston experienced a revival in the 1980s and has since remained a beloved vintage dance. It is often performed at themed parties, swing dance events, and even modern dance competitions. The Charleston continues to captivate dancers and audiences with its infectious rhythm and joyful movements, preserving its place as an iconic dance from the Jazz Age.

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