Good question eh?

Really, rock'n'roll refers to the music we know as rock'n'roll. It's that simple, BUT, if you're asking 'What is Rock'n'Roll dance?', then it becomes much more complicated.

To find out what rock'n'roll dance is, we have to go waaaaaay back to the early 1900's, when the black americans would celebrate their blues music with a solo dance which evolved into what white americans called The Charleston. This dance in turn evolved into a partner dance simply because people naturally liked dancing together.

Then, in the late 1920's and early 1930's, the partner Charleston evolved into the Lindy Hop and in 1934, Cab Calloway introduced the 'new' dance - Jive, which was simply a selection of six beat moves taken from Lindy Hop. As time went by, Jive and Lindy Hop developed into Boogie Woogie through the efforts of American World War 2 sailors and GI's who spread their own versions of the dance across the world. By the time Rock Around the Clock heralded the start of the Rock'n'roll era, dancers were dancing either Lindy Hop [Savoy or Hollywood style] or Boogie Woogie [Click Here for a typical dance scene].

Boogie Woogie as a dance style utilises three basic footwork styles known as single time, double time and triple time. Each style of footwork is used according to the tempo of the music playing. Single time is the equivalent of what many of us know as 'pressure step Rock'n'roll' or four step Rock'n'roll and is used when the music is fast or very fast. Double time is the equivalent of 'Tap step or Kick step Rock'n'roll' and is mostly used from medium to fast music. Triple time footwork is much like Jive, but is used for slower music and it is this foot pattern which metamorphosed into West Coast Swing.

So you can see that, while we say we're dancing rock'n'roll, it is just the music which is rock'n'roll. The dancing is actually swing dancing and it doesn't have to be done just to rock'n'roll music, it can be danced to country music, blues music, swing music [of course!] and jazz, so don't be shy - if there's music playing, chances are you can dance rock'n'roll to it, so get up and dance.

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