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Charleston (dance move)

The Charleston is a dance that fused into Lindy Hop. So, Lindy hop includes all Charleston dance moves.

This article lists many of the key Charleston moves.

Table of contents
1 Basic Step
2 Side by Side (Closed)
3 Face to Face (Closed)
4 Tandem
5 Solo or Line
6 See Also
7 To Do

Basic Step

A common version of the man's basic step is as follows:

Count 1: Left foot straight back, committing most or all of the weight.
Count 2: Replacing weight to right foot.
Count 3: Kicking forward with the left foot, weight remaining on the right (placing the foot too early is a common mistake for beginners which causes them to get ahead of the music).
Count 4: Stepping forward onto the left foot and committing all the weight to the foot.
Count 5: Kicking forward with the right foot.
Count 6: Lifting the right foot.
Count 7: Kicking the right foot back or back and to the side.
Count 8: Stepping back onto the right foot, preparing for count 1.

The follower's part when dancing with a partner is the same as the lead's, except that she moves the opposite foot (but in the same direction - NOT the natural opposite as in Waltz where she moves the opposite foot in the opposite direction). IE., she begins by stepping back on her right foot. When dancing tandem style with a partner and in other situations, however, the lady does exactly the same footwork as the man.


Many variations on this footwork are commonly seen, particularly in the size of the steps and height of the kicks. Charleston is danced by some in a very understated, minimalistic style, and by others very energetically.

Among the numerous variations in style, the 1st, 4th, 5th and 8th steps are the most consistent. Counts 5, 6, 7 and 8 simply transfer the right foot from the front to the back, and thus provide lots of room for variation. For instance:

Count 5: Kick forward
Count 6: Pull right foot back
Count 7: Kick forward again
Count 8: Step back and place weight

Savoy Kicks Style

Lead's Footwork:

  1. Kick forward and up in circle, left
  2. Tap back, left
  3. Kick forward left
  4. Hold
  5. Kick forward, right
  6. Kick down (knee), right
  7. Kick back, right
  8. Replace right foot behind left

Hip Hop Style

Lead's Footwork:

  1. Rock back on left
  2. Step onto right
  3. Kick left
  4. Hold
  5. Leap forward onto left foot, put right foot into hollow of knee.
  6. Hold
  7. Leap back onto right foot
  8. Hold

Side by Side (Closed)

In this form, the follow usually mirrors the lead.


Kick throughs: (kick variations)

hand to hand:

hand to hand, free spin: Both lead and follow free spin, usually holding hands up.

Scootch: Rock on left, step on right, hop on right, scootch and stand. The scootch means go low and stand up in a smooth motion, which can take 2 or 4 counts. (To Basic?)

Face to Face (Closed)

The follow usually does the opposite of the lead. When the lead steps forward with his right foot, the follow steps backwards with her left foot.


Slide Back:


Yo Yo: Move from side-by-side to face-to-face and back.

Double Kicks: Two kicks forward, two kicks backward.


The lead and follow face the same direction, one directly in front of the other. The follow matches the lead's footwork.


Girl Spin:

Guy Spin:

Both Spin:

Guy Move to Front: (overhead or free spin)

Girl Move to Front: (overhead or free spin)

Side to Side: Kick through leg work

Barrel Roll:

Half Barrel Roll: (changes direction)

Travelling: (hops) turning

Push Away: Rock, step (push), kick left (turn), step left (face lead), kick right (pull), knee right (turn), kick back right, step right.

To Side by Side and Back:

To Side by Side and Exit: Then Suzy Q. See Basic (dance move) for other moves to exit into.

Russian: (See Aerial (dance move))

Closed to Tandem: (tuck throw out, pull back) (rock step, tuck, turn (throw out + change hands), rock step (pull), step, step (sync in tandem))

Tandem to Open: (free spin)

Imitation: (See Basic (dance move))

Sliding Doors: This is Tandem Charleston kick throughs, except that they kick in alternate directions, and change direction, because the lead pushes follow's hip.

Yo Yo: Write something.

Solo or Line




with slide:

Scare crow:

Foot spin: Circle Foot


Circling Variation: Rock, step, knee jump (arms up) and land, land, step back right, slide left, step, step.

Other charleston thingy:

See Also

Dance - Swing - Lindy hop - Charleston - East coast swing - West coast swing

Dance move - Basic - Side pass - Swing out - Circle - Groucho - Skip up - Aerial - Jazz

Lead and follow - Connection - Musicality

To Do

Into and Out Of Kick Throughs: Two timings. From Charleston and from Frankie Manning.

Hacksaw Charleston: Two kicks forward, two kick back.

Walking Charleston: Keep walking. Back and forth.

Walking Charleston: Tap the foot at end of direction, 3 times or 5 times.