The Big Apple is both a partner dance and a circle dance that originated in the Afro-American community of the United States in the beginning of the 20th century. The exact origin of the Big Apple is unclear but one author suggests that the dance originated from the "ring shout", a group dance associated with religious observances that was founded before 1860 by African Americans on plantations in South Carolina and Georgia. The ring shout is described as a dance with "counterclockwise circling and high arm gestures" that resembled the Big Apple. It is still practiced today in small populations of the southern United States.
The dance that eventually became known as the Big Apple is speculated to have been created in the early 1930s by African American youth dancing at the House of Prayer Synagogue on Gates Street in Columbia, South Carolina. The synagogue was converted into a black juke joint called the "Big Apple Night Club".