AniDance: Animation & Dance - The Virtual Amateur Dancing School
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The Style
Boogie is danced extensively without firm figures sequences. The dance figures should be carried out without up and down moves with easily bended knees. All steps can also be danced with small turns to the right or to the left. As a variant the last steps of a figure can be locked with "Kick ball Change".

The Rhythm
Boogie is danced in 4/4-time. In the basic rhythm slow-slow-quick-quick the speed amounts to from 36 beats per minute.

Past and Present

In reality Boogie Woogie is a predecessor of Rock'n'Roll. The common grandfather of both dances is Swing, which was created in the music pubs of American gettos in the end of the twenties. In one of these crummy joints, the "New York Savoy Ballroom" in the heart of Harlem, Swing came into being - a pair dance without regulated step sequences, living of the dance partners improvisation. Swing was a revolutionary dance: even everything was allowed - the main thing was that the couples moved to the beat of the music.

Only a short period later a new variation of Swing was created, the Lindy Hop. The name of the dance was chosen well: similar to the century-flight of the American flight pioneer, Charles Lindbergh, the ladies flew through the air at Lindy Hop, were thrown over the head by their dancing partners and wound around the hips. Another Swing variation, although not known as well, was called Jitterbug. The term was invented by the black musician Cab Calloway. He compared couples dancing to his music in a wild style, like "jittering bugs".

In Germany Swing music first became public in the thirties and was danced especially during the war, as an alternative to the equalizing march rhythm. From 1945 Swing music, performed by enormous big bands, was imported to Europe. Together with the music a new dance was established - Boogie Woogie. This time it merely hadn't been a pure change of name - Swing music itself had changed. Good old Blues had been reworked in America and was now performed in a flowing piano variant, based on a left-handed bass accompaniment.

This is reflected in the dancing style: Although Boogie Woogie in principle was danced like Swing, the couples didn't rock. Because of the fast music, there was no time for it. Raving feet, danced out of the hips, were just the right means to make room for an entertainment rage, bottled up in damaged Germany, to throw away all heavily weighing sorrows. Boogie rhythm, faster than Swing, was like an intoxication often danced up to physical exhaustion.

Today Boogie Woogie has become more fashionable. Its basic steps more resemble Rock'n'Roll of the fifties, than they remind of super-quick Boogie of the late forties. Instead of playing typical piano music, people are dancing to "Rock around the Clock" and other Rock'n'Roll oldies. At dancing competitions couples are wearing petticoats, sports jackets and suspenders, at normal leisure dancing events people are rocking in street clothes.