Jazz Fun with Swing Dancing

Swing was the first form of jazz, composed and played for dancing. It was popular from the 1920s to the 1940s. There were hundreds of styles of swing dancing during this era, and some have survived to this day. They include the Charleston, the lindy hop, Balboa and collegiate shag.


The Charleston became popular in 1923, through a musical piece called “The Charleston”, which was part of the Broadway Show “Running Wild” and was composed by James P. Johnson. “The Charleston” became one of the biggest hits of the decade. Charleston dancing was very popular throughout the 1920s.

How to Do the Charleston?

The Charleston has some elements of traditional dance, like the step known as “Jay Bird”. The action starts off with a simple twisting of the feet in the rhythm of the music, in a lazy kind of way. Then, add a fast kicking step, kicking your heels forwards and backwards. Once you’ve got that, you can practise doing it with a tap. The necessary step consists of eight counts and can be danced alone or with a partner.

Lindy Hop

The lindy hop was born in1928 in Harlem, New York City. It was very popular during the late 1930s and the 1940s. The lindy hop is a fusion of many dances, mainly Charleston, tap and breakaway. Lindy hop can be seen as a street dance, due to its social and improvisational nature. The 1980s saw a revival and renewed interest in the dance.

How to Do the Lindy Hop?

The lindy hop can be danced alone or with a partner. It combines movements and improvisations of African-American dance, with the formal structure of European partner dances, which are based on eight counts. The swing-out is the primary step for the lindy hop. In its open position, the dance partners are connected hand-to-hand, in its closed position they are united in an embrace on one side, and holding hands on the other.