Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Humongous Fruit Jazz Routine

I’ve intended to learn the Big Apple jazz routine awhile now. Every time a Big Apple breaks out at a dance, I kick myself because I really want to join in on the fun.

A “Big Apple” is a “called” solo jazz and solo Charleston dance. The caller is in the middle and calls out different moves that the group surrounding him follows.

Big Apples like this happen on occasion, but if you say “Big Apple” most people will assume you’re referring to the choreography based on the performance by Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers in the movie Keep Punchin’.

My absolute favorite Big Apple moment was at the Lindy Focus VIII New Year’s party. The biggest Big Apple I had ever seen broke out when the band (sorry, I can’t remember. Any help?) started playing a spirited rendition of “Flying Home” (or was it “Big Apple Contest?”). Well, there were so many people that they had to form multiple concentric circles of dancers! It was amazing. I never want to miss out on that fun again.

So, I need to get off my butt and learn this routine. Fortunately for me and maybe for you, Patrick and Natasha have released a 14-part series of HD instructional videos teaching the routine.

So, why is it important to learn routines like this?  Jazz routines are a great way to pick up jazz movement and vocabulary.   Once you have a routine down, you'll find yourself incorporating the moves into your regular dancing.  Plus, if you're socially awkward, you don't have to worry about asking anyone to dance.


  1. Hey thanks for this post, I was previously learning this bar by bar from a friend at a local swing dance venue. But this should speed the process up!

    Also interesting thing to note about the Big Apple is how everybody teaches it slightly different and each has their own individual stylizations for the moves.

    An example is the move Spank the Baby, which usually is done by having a palm face forward and spanking oneself. Sara Deckard at College of Swingology used her right hand to do a buckin'/throwing the dice motion when she does it. Whereas most of the Harlem Hot Shots from Sweden do a swimming motion with their left arm when they do this move.

  2. Once you have it down it's best to personalize your movements and make the choreography your own. After all, it ain't what you do. It's the way that you do it!

  3. Hey Michael,

    Thank you for this post.

    We added a video with the full routine done with counts and annotations that link to the individual instructional videos :



  4. This is a really late response, but the band was Russ Wilson (and his Nouveau-Passé Orchestra), and they did indeed play the Big Apple Contest song. Pfft to Flying Home.