The Charleston was a popular dance in the 1920s. It involves the fast-paced swinging of the legs and big arm movements. Early performances date back to around 1903 when several Harlem stage shows presented the dance.
The song "The Charleston," by James P. Johnson in the Broadway musical "Runnin' Wild" in 1923 caused a dance fever. Young men and women took off the etiquette and moral codes of their parents' generation. The young people let loose in their attire, actions, and attitudes. Young women cut their hair, shortened their skirts, drank alcohol, smoked, wore makeup. Dancing became more uninhibited. Many dance halls banned the Charleston because of its outrageous behavior.