The dance form was originally inspired by American Rock 'n' Roll/Lindy Hop dancing of the 1950s, but gradually developed its own European style and personality.
Boogie Woogie is a playful and improvised couple dance, often in medium or slightly fast tempi, with a significant footwork based on musical interpretation. Boogie Woogie of today functions as a social dance, but is sometimes recognized even more as an established competition dance.
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.
Boogie Dance, or Boogie-woogie is a form of swing dancing that was originally known as “Barrelhouse” dancing. It is called boogie-woogie in Europe, but this dance is more commonly known as East Coast swing in the United States. During the 1950s, today's boogie-woogie would have been known as “rock 'n' roll.” The name boogie-woogie is used mostly in Europe; the closest thing in the US is probably East Coast Swing.
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.
The name Boogie Woogie signifies piano music with strong rolling bass runs which is said to have its origins around the mid twenties in a lumberjack-camp. The dance steps that were done to that music were called Boogie Woogie.
The dance can be danced to the music style called boogie-woogie but is most often danced to rock music of various kinds.