Boogie-woogie (dance)

couple dancing Boogie woogie

Boogie-woogie is a form of swing dance and a form of blues piano playing.


The name boogie-woogie is used mostly in Europe; the closest thing in the US is probably East Coast Swing. What today is called boogie-woogie would during the 1950s have been called rock'n'roll. The term boogie woogie is confusing; the dance can be danced to the music style called boogie-woogie but is most often danced to rock music of various kinds. The name was taken since the name rock'n'roll used in competition dance was already taken by a highly acrobatic dance form. Boogie woogie as a competition dance is a led dance, not choreographed, and can contain acrobatic elements, but not like in acrobatic rock'n'roll. The limitation of aerials are various in European countries, but by the strong Lindy Hop influence, they cannot be completely removed from the dance. Mainly the couples have to maintain some contact during the acrobatics, this rule helps to avoid moves like double/triple saltos and the like.


The usual step variation is a six beat dance pattern, usually cued as "tri-ple step, tri-ple step, step, step", with words "step" taking a whole beat and pieces "tri" and "ple" together taking one beat. Triple forms a syncopated step, where "ple" is typically somewhat delayed from being in the half way between the beats, which matches the syncopated music used in boogie-woogie. In parts of Europe, boogie-woogie is mostly danced as a social dance. In others, it is mostly a competition form. It is citied in Madonna's hit single "Music" as a type of dance.

The competitions are regulated by the World Rock'n'Roll Confederation. In addition to adults the competition forms of boogie woogie include formation, senior and junior classes.

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