A roaring good time

A roaring good time

With the forthcoming release of the Great Gatsby, the Roaring Twenties revival has reached feverish heights.

This revival has been gathering pace in the UK for some time now. Drop-waisted dresses and correspondents have been seen on the catwalks for the past couple of summers, there’s a proliferation of 1920s and electro-swing nights which began with White Mink (in Brighton and London), and the brass sounds of the era are creeping into mainstream music.

But for some, the Jazz Age never really went out of vogue. The Bee’s Knees are a group of dancers who have been flapping around the finest speakeasy-style events in the capital, putting on performances and the occasional class – and for the next four months they’re doing special classes in the elegant, swellegant surrounds of Claridge’s Ballroom, in London.

If ever there was a place to learn how to dance the Charleston, Claridge’s – the Art Deco jewel of Mayfair – must be it. The modern, clean lines of the 1920s, full-length mirrored panels, detailing in gold and silver and bronze, crystal chandeliers given an up-to-date twist to Deco style… And imagine the parties! Bright young things swinging and roaring their way into a whole new world.

A black-and-white chequerboard dancefloor has been laid out in the ballroom for the occasion. Starting slowly and simply, the Bees take you through a series of moves with whimsical names like the Mess-around, the Spank-the-Baby, the Scarecrow, the Bee’s Knees (the comical, knock-kneed move the troupe named themselves for). There’s a whole routine to learn, and it gets faster and trickier and more complicated – and yet somehow all except the completely two-left-footed are able to master it in a couple of hours. Or perhaps everyone is just swept up in the brilliance of the Bee’s Knees ladies, whose sparkle and enthusiasm is contagious.

For inspiration, check out old Josephine Baker routines. And dress for the occasion: ballroom shoes and something fringed (women) will help you get into the swing of things – though the cigarette holder might be taking things a little too far.

So if you’ve ever watched Bugsy Malone and wished yourself up on Fat Sam’s speakeasy stage, this could be the dance class of your sequin-scattered dreams.

Charleston classes at Claridge’s take place on 25 February, 18 March, 15 April and 13 May 2013. Classes cost ?125, last two hours and include a Flapper cocktail (originally created for the opening of the ballroom in 1929). To book call 020 7201 1618 or email charleston@claridges.co.uk. Men and women welcome.
For more information about The Bee’s Knees, visit www.londonsfinestflappers.com

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply