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charleston (dance)

charleston, social dance of the United States popular in the mid-1920s. The charleston is characterized by outward heel kicks combined with an up-and-down movement achieved by bending and straightening the knees in time to the syncopated 4/4 rhythm of ragtime jazz. The steps are thought to have originated with the blacks living on a small island near Charleston, S.C. Performed in Charleston as early as 1903, the dance made its way into Harlem stage shows by 1913. The male chorus line danced and sang James P. Johnson's "Charleston" in the musical Runnin' Wild on Broadway in 1923. Both dance and song, expressive of the reckless daring, abandon, and restlessness of the jazz-age flappers, soon became the rage throughout the United States.

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Charleston

Charleston. A fast fox-trot named after Charleston, S. Carolina, popularized in NY, 1922, in Negro revues, in a song by Cecil Mack and Jimmy Johnson; it then had a short but widespread vogue in ballrooms and dance-halls. The dance-step was characterized by 2 twists on each foot, with one kicked sharply backwards, and swinging of the arms.

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Charleston

Charles·ton (also charles·ton) • n. a lively dance of the 1920s that involved turning the knees inward and kicking out the lower legs. • v. [intr.] dance the Charleston.

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