Big Apple is a group participation dance that uses swing dance as a base and a host. The Big Apple has some roots in the white Square Dance as well. Sometimes a solo or couple would perform in the center of the circle (like today’s modern jams) as the rest of the dancers would dance in a circle around them.
Most people think of the City of New York - which sometimes was called the Big Apple as a Nickname - when they hear the name, but the Big Apple actually originated around 1936 at the "Big Apple Night Club" in the Palmetto state of Columbia, South Carolina. The night club was actually a abandoned african-american church converted into a nightclub. The club used a "Nickelodeon", a sort of a jukebox, for its music and had a balcony around the floor.
The Big Apple then quickly spread all over the states and soon the smaller taverns and dance halls were posting some apologetic signs: "Sorry, No Big Apple. Not enough room". Some ballrooms who had balconies or dance floors on the second story even collapsed due to the weight of the people doing the Big Apple. Many people where hurt in the collapse and some establishments refused to allow people to do the Big Apple due to the difficult insurance situation - again due to the american law system - and fear that someone might get hurt - or even worse: claimed large indemnities.
Some of the names of steps were called "Spank The Baby, Praise Allah, Rusty Dusty, Charleston, Suzy-Q, Pose & A Peck, Boogie Back, Shorty George, Truckin, The Little Apple., The Little Peach" -- (Little Peach-Invented by Collage Kids in So. Carolina) and more, were all swing type fad dances of the time, these fad dances lasted only a couple years. Over time most of these steps have resurfaced as the same dance or a variation of the dance.
The book "Swing As Away Of Life" states the following about this dance: The Big Apple started when the band leader (or any dancer) cried out, "Cut The Apple!" and dancers formed circles of 8 to 10 people each. At the callers cry of "Come on and swing," the dancers would break into the Charleston swing (Lindy Hop?), a more violent version of the previous decades Charleston. Each dancer would step forward on his left foot and kick the right foot up, then step back on the right foot to the rear. Soon the whole circle would be a flurry of flying feet and counter-flying arms and elbows. When the caller yelled "Truck To the Right"!, each dancer would face right, raise and admonitory index finger, step forward and pivot... etc
Another Book called "Down Memory Lane" stated: The Big Apple was a group participation dance that included all the earlier swing steps and required a caller. The dance started off with a march; as the couples formed into a ring, the caller would shout "Shine" and ask for one of the swing steps. A single couple would take the initiative, step into the center of the ring, and perform the Jive gyrations. During the "Shine" episode the on-looking dancers remain in the circle, clapping hands, beating time, and shouting and catcalling in loud enthusiasm