Dance Styles:

Lindy Hop:

This dance originates from the Savoy ballroom in Harlem New York during the late 1920's.  The dance was created as a result of the shift in the music at the time.  Gone was the Dixieland tuba and snare, here was the double bass and drum set rhythm section.  Dancers began to abandon the upright Charleston they had been doing prior and started to get low.  To quote Frankie Manning, "The music was SWINGIN, and I wanted to be SWINGIN!!!"

This dance, like Jazz music, is very improvisatory in nature meaning that it incorporates a variety of connections, rhythms, and styles.  Furthermore it goes by a number of names: Jitterbug, Swing, Lindy hop, or simply Lindy.  Even to this day, the Lindy Hop is the most popular of all swing dances to date and can be seen in vintage films like Hellzapoppin, Twice Blessed, and A Day at the Races, as well as modern films like Swing Kids.

Charleston:

This dance style came into existence during the early 1920's.  In the beginning of the jazz era, the rhythm section of the band was comprised mainly of marching band style instruments, i.e. snare drum and a tuba.  This style of Jazz was known as Dixieland and, as a result of the chugging feel of this style of music, the Charleston was born. 

This dance is very high energy, characterized by kicking and sweeping feet.  While it was originally danced upright at the hip, it soon became integrated into Lindy Hop and, as a result, it took on a more athletic, grounded posture.   It is because of this that, today, there are two very distinct styles of Charleston: 20's Charleston, and 30's Charleston.

Balboa:

Balboa, named after the peninsula where it was founded, came into existence in the 1920's.  It was said that the ballrooms where so crowded at the time that if you did not dance close enough to your partner you where kicked out of the ballroom, and hence Balboa was born.  Originally it was danced in a very close position, known as "Pure Bal".  Later on, as the ballrooms became less crowded, the dancers began to open up more and lead turns and spins which became known as "Bal Swing".

This dance is characterized by a calm and relaxed looking upper body, while the legs do very subtle and intricate footwork.

 

Blues:


Blues dancing is a family of historical dances that developed alongside and were danced to blues music, or the contemporary dances that are danced in that aesthetic. With its origins in the juke joints (places that served bootleg alcohol during the prohibition days) this dance developed itself without a real framework in the place of an emphasis on lead/follow connect and a more lose frame.  

As previously mentioned, Blues, like swing, is in fact a family of dances but, like with Swing, there are a few predominant styles. Examples: Juke, Slow Drag, and Struttin. Whether you are dancing on Muddy Waters or Stevie Ray Vaughan this dance really moves and grooves along with the music.