Tuesday, July 19, 2011
There's nothing quite as quaint as a line of pretty showgirls ambling down Fifth Avenue doing the Charleston. The craze was developed in black clubs during the 1920, and quickly adapted by white flappers who initiated the provocative moves in speakeasies as a mock protest to the tightwads that supported Prohibition at the time.
The dance was popularized in mainstream music by the 1923 tune "The Charleston" by composer and pianist James P. Johnson, which originated in the Broadway show Runnin' Wild. It became the most popular hit of the decade.
Black entertainer Josephine Baker also indulged the Charleston in her "erotic" dancing style at the Folies Bergère, Paris, in 1926. She was American, but preferred the more liberal lifestyle she found in France. Ultimately, the Charleston peaked in pop culture by 1927. Top pic: NYCvintagimages