Charleston, named after the city in the south of the USA is the most famous dance of the "roaring twenties". The dance came up in the early twenties and spread quickly over the states. In the beginning, it was just a showdance in Broadway Shows. Frowned upon because of its obvious relationship to african dancing it was first danced by the blacks. After a "refinement" by dance instructors, the Whites also started to dance their version of Charleston.
Lindy Hop, which came up in the mid-twenties, having it's peak in the end of thirties beginning of the fourties includes elements from the Charleston and was danced exclusively by black people to swing music. It is said, that the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, New York was the birthplace of Lindy Hop. Legend has it that the name was invented in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh flew over the Atlantic Ocean (‚Lindy hops the Atlantic’). Shorty George Snowden, one of the most famous dancers at that time, relabelled the dance formerly known just as "the Hop" to "Lindy Hop". Lindy Hop is the precursor of the modern Jive, Rock'n'Roll and Boogie Woogie. It is an energetic dance expressing a lot of vitality.
Balboa came up in the twenties, and was most popular in the thirties. His name is derived from the „Balboa Peninsula“ at Newport Beach, around 40 miles south of Los Angeles. There are two forms of Balboa - „Pure Balboa“ and „Bal-Swing“. Pure Balboa is danced in closed position and the dancers have a constant contact in their upper bodies. In Pure Balboa step variations, as well as direction- and weight changes play the most important role. In Bal Swing the dances may give up their closed postion and therefore turns, spins, little dips and tricks are possible. Like in Pure Balboa, rhythm variations play an important role. Since the suble weight changes cannot be seen from the outside and Balboa gets along without spectacular figures or even aerials, it is more a „dance for dancers“ then for the audience. Similar to Lindy Hop, Balboa was rediscovered in the eighties when Sylvia Sykes and Jonathan Bixby learned it form the „Oldtimers“. Since the ninties, Balboa has become more and more popular all over the world and today there are workshops and dance camps only for Balboa (All Balboa Weekend, Frenchie Balboa Festival, London Balboa Festival).