Jazz

Ages and Levels:

Jazz (Ages 6-18) - Jazz is a highly energetic and fun dance style of dance. It is the style of dance most seen in Broadway musicals and stage productions. Jazz dancing often uses bold, dramatic body movements.  The focus includes flexibility, various leaps and turn combinations, and progressions across the floor.

Classes:

Our jazz class meet once each week for 30-45 minutes.

Thursdays 6:00-6:45 Ages 12-16 Jazz II

Thursdays 6:45-7:15 Ages 6-7  Jazz I

Thursdays 7:30-8:15 Ages 10-14 Jazz II

Thursdays 8:15-9:00 Ages 14-18 Jazz III

Shoes:

Black, slip on jazz boots are worn by our jazz dancers.

History:

Jazz dance originated from the African American vernacular dance of the late 1800s to the mid-1900s.

Until the mid 1950s, the term “jazz dance” often referred to tap dance, because tap dancing (set to jazz music) was the main performance dance of the era. During the later jazz age, popular forms of jazz dance were the Cakewalk, Black Bottom, Charleston, Jitterbug, Boogie Woogie, Swing dancing and the related Lindy Hop.

After the 1950s, pioneers such as Katherine Dunham took the essence of Caribbean traditional dance and made it into a performing art. With the growing domination of other forms of entertainment music, jazz dance evolved on Broadway into the new, smooth style that is taught today and known as Modern Jazz, while tap dance branched off to follow its own, separate evolutionary path. The performance style of jazz dance was popularized to a large extent by Bob Fosses work, which is exemplified by Broadway shows such as Chicago, Cabaret, Damn Yankees, and The Pajama Game.

Today, jazz dance is present in many different forms and venues. Jazz dance is commonly taught in dance schools and performed by dance companies around the world. It continues to be an essential element of musical theater choreography, where it may be interwoven with other dance styles as appropriate for a particular show. Jazz dancing can be seen in music videos, in competitive dance, and on the television show, So You Think You Can Dance.

Technique
Technique is the foundation for all dance movement. A strong technical foundation enables a dancer to focus on the stylistic and performance aspects of dance. Technique is essential for leaps and turns, where correct posture is essential to properly execute such moves. Also, jazz dancers’ strong and sharp movements are greatly aided by a good background in ballet technique. However, while ballet movement emphasizes the upbeat of music, jazz dance emphasizes the downbeat.

Center control is important in jazz technique. The body’s center is the focal point from which all movement emanates, thus making it possible to maintain balance while executing powerful movements.

“Spotting” is important as a turning technique as well. This allows a dancer to do Pirouettes and fouett’s without getting dizzy. This technique requires the dancer to focus on a main spot in front of them. You continue to focus until right before the body turns the head whips around back to the same focus.

Jazz classes require some form of moderate intensity stretching in order to warm up the muscles and help prevent injuries. Some techniques used in the warm up consist of elongating leg muscles and strengthening the core.

Common Dance Moves
Although jazz dance can be performed its traditional form, it is often influenced by other dance styles such as acro, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, and hip hop. In turn, many other dance styles are influenced by jazz dance. As a result, many of the moves that are common to jazz dance can also be found in other dance styles.

 

 
 
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