The Charleston epitomizes the Jazz Age. It seemed that all of a sudden, young women were breaking out of their expected roles. They were promiscuous, went out to party all night, drove, smoked, and flirted with men. None of these things were seen as appropriate by the older generation, who were, in a way, left out of all these things. That leads to the Charleston (and other new dances) that were only for the young, mainly because of the new jazz music, for the Jazz Age.
Britannica Encyclopedia explains that the Charleston was originally a black folk dance especially known in the South, and obviously associated with Charleston, SC. It actually is quite similar to dances from Trinidad, Nigeria, and Ghana. At first, there were crazy rhythms, foot stomps, and claps, and in the 1920s, when professional dancers performed the Charleston, it swept the nation off its feet, much like the musical phenomenons and dances today. Then of course, when introduced to ballroom, there was much less crazy movement and it became a huge part of swing dancing.
We wanted to create a how-to video for the class because we felt that this would demonstrate the generation gap so well. It would show the culture that Gatsby was involved in at his parties.
"The music is sensuous, the female is only half dressed and the motions may not be described in a family newspaper. Suffice it to say that there are certain houses appropriate for such dances but these houses have been closed by law." - The Catholic Telegraph (historylearningsite)
"Charleston (dance)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 22 Jan. 2013. "The Jazz Age." The Jazz Age. History Learning Site. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.