I don't even know why, but over the years I've become more and more enchanted with the Jazz Age. My initial reaction to it was "blagh!" when perusing the 1920-29 Sears Catalog compilations...GAH, what horrible clothes!
Yet over time my perception of the 20s has changed, thanks in no small part to Callot Soeurs and Jeanne Lanvin, documentaries like "Prohibition," shows like "Boardwalk Empire," and, of course, the music.
The music...and the dancing. They make it look so easy, those knee-twisting, Charleston-dancing girls, and the more fringe on their skirts the better. I want to dance like that.
My love of Charleston burst into being after watching The Deco Belles dance a big, in-tandem Charleston routine at The Gatsby in Oakland, years ago now. They were so charming to begin with, in their retro bathing suits and stockings, waving their giant Ziegfeld-style plastic lollipops in perfectly choreographed patterns, but it's when those lollipops were tossed aside and all twenty of 'em took off in the most incredible coordinated jig of fancy footwork I'd ever seen, did I feel the insatiable need to do exactly the same.
Trouble is...how? I mean...I had a vague idea of it, but...what exactly was going on with those twisting ankles and flipping feet and rolling knees?!
Years later (well, last Summer), I attended the Tahoe Gatsby, in my own little 1920s swim suit, and there was a hoppin' jazz band, and I tried, oh I tried, to dance the Charleston, but it was a mess of flying feet and incongruous flapping about...and not in a swanky "flapper" way either.
It's time to learn it right, so I've started with YouTube, and these videos I've posted here. See how intimidating they are! but with enough practice Napoleon-Dynamite-style, I'll get these moves down.
Meanwhile, enjoy these clips, and I hope they get you up and dancing too :-)