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What the Heck is Jazz Dance? (karma: 35)
By kabdancer
On Fri Nov 12, 2004 08:03 AM
Edited by kabdancer (104061) on 2004-11-12 07:59:24 add on
Made sticky by alleycat (25274) on 2004-11-13 19:43:21

If I may borrow the title from Balletgurl's "What the heck is Modern dance?"

It has come to my attention that there are some skewed ideas of what Jazz Dance is.

Today it is many things using all other dance forms and inspiring many other dance forms. But like everything else there was a beginning and so I post this for those who are interested in learning and those who still think history is important.

This selection is taken from the 'freedictionary' online....but there are many others that support this definition as well.

"Jazz dance has two meanings, depending on the era. Both forms are related by evolution.
From ? until 1955, jazz dance meant tap dance, because jazz was the music and tap was the main performance dance of the era. After 1955, jazz dance evolved into the smooth, modern Broadway style that is taught today.

Another essential root to all jazz dance is the afro-american culture from the late 1800 up till the mid 1900. Pioneers such as Kathrine Dunham took the essence of caribbean traditional dance and made it into a performing art.
During the early 1900s, these two dance forms mixed with the rebellion against ballet and developed into what we today call jazz dance, or jazz ballet.

An early popular "jazz dancer" was vaudeville star Joe Frisco in the 1910s. He danced in a loose-limbed style close to the ground, with eccentric steps, and juggled his derby and cigar.

Jazz dance is a form of dance commonly used in Broadway shows and movies. Jazz is a less serious looking, looser kind of dance compared to ballet, for instance. Even though jazz dancing might look easy and fun when the dancers do it, most times the dancers have to be in really good shape, and practice sometimes six hours a day. Some traditional musical jazz numbers are "All That Jazz" and "Chicago".

Both Jazz dance and modern dance technics are based on the basics of the old ballet tradition, even though both forms where considered to rebellions against it. To excell in jazz dance, the dancer must master both modern dance and ballet technics.

In jazz dancing the movements are big and exaggerated and there is usually an attitude the dancer conveys to the audience. The attitude would depend on the dance. Jazz dancing is also used in modern(day)dancing as on MTV.

Just about every dance school teaches jazz, as it is the most popular danceform for amateur dancers.

The essence of jazz dance is entertainment to the people, an eatable form of dancing which is easy to understand for anyone seeing it. As the famous choreografer and pioneer Alvin Ailey said "The dance came from the people, and should always be given back to the people". "

some other good links to look up for information are: . . . . . . . . . . . .


60 Replies to What the Heck is Jazz Dance?

re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By chrissydawl
On Sat Nov 13, 2004 08:21 PM
I love it!
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By ballerina7
On Sun Nov 14, 2004 10:22 PM
true a definition for people who dont know what jazz is was needed...karma for you!
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By DanceDynamics
On Sat Nov 20, 2004 08:08 AM
Edited by DanceDynamics (113692) on 2004-11-20 08:02:54
Thanks for posting this, It is great to know the history of dance! I can tell you spent a lot of time on this, thanks for all of your hard work!
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By dancingrl247
On Sat Nov 20, 2004 10:01 AM
hey thanks for posting all those facts! it will make it much easier to tell people about jazz now or an easy way for people to find out on this site. karma!
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By dancing_diva_123
On Mon Nov 22, 2004 07:39 PM
good idea i never thjought about people who didnt no wot jazz dance was good onyah for helping people out
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By kp8239
On Thu Nov 25, 2004 09:38 AM
very interesting. thanks for posting that.
By jazz_star
On Mon Nov 29, 2004 05:00 PM
wow! that's great info!
if only it had been posted some months ago, for my Oral English class it would've been so much better.. lol...

*Dance... everything else doesn't matter...*
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By Danceintherain66
On Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:19 PM
Thank you soooo much! I've trying to cram at the last minute to get this report done on dance and this info helped me out alot.
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By dancediva55
On Sun Dec 05, 2004 07:06 AM
Well said!

I gave you a well-deserved karma! :] Now I just wish all my non-dancer friends would read this... *sigh*
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By maryHmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:45 AM
can´t explain what it is, just love it :)
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By crazycindy07
On Mon Dec 06, 2004 07:40 PM
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By Jaime_Lynnmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Dec 06, 2004 10:53 PM
Wow, you went to a lot of trouble for that! But thanks lots; I take jazz and didn't know half of that.
What the heck is jazz dance ?
By dancer_hunny
On Thu Dec 23, 2004 03:44 PM
Wow who doesnt know what jazz is ???? ummm its usaully a fast or upbeat song with kicks jumps leaps and turns....kinda like the happy dancing
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By kabdancer
On Thu Dec 23, 2004 05:11 PM
Lots of people don't really know what jazz is. Sounds like you didn't read the full post either, it's not a question, it's information. Read the post.

re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By danzin_gurl
On Thu Dec 30, 2004 06:37 PM
that is so cool that you know all of that and it all definetly needed to be said! nice :)
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By hsd_dancermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Jan 01, 2005 10:37 AM
Wow kabdancer that was a really great post! I have been taking jazz for 9 years and I didnt know half of thpose things! I gave you a well deserved karma!
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By bearhair_520
On Tue Jan 11, 2005 06:52 PM
Jazz dance is fun but even singing jazz is a blast. The thing that makes them different forms of expression (besides the obvious) is that jazz dance is usually a routine. Jazz singing or even the music itself is mostly improvisation. Improv was derived from blues music where singers would erupt with feeling in the form of music to tie along with the music that was already written on the page.

And all that jazz
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By kabdancer
On Tue Jan 11, 2005 07:33 PM
Actually, it depends what kind of jazz or who your teacher is. When I teach my classes, there is a great deal of improvisation. I use jazz music and stress the importance of improvisation to jazz culture, so whether you are singing it or dancing it, jazzing it or tapping it, you must understand the art of improvisation. Some companies like Jump Rhythm Jazz Project in Chicago, base alot of their work on that old school approach to rhythm and Silver screen natural movement and scatting when they dance. Their dances may be staged upon completion for performance, but are developed in a very improvised way. 'True' jazz dancers appreciate and know how to improvise and embrace it.

re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By dancingqueen_17member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Jan 21, 2005 06:28 PM
Wow! I really enjoyed reading that about jazz! Cheers to u also!
Very informative!! I'm impressed....

dance......the only REAL sport

luv ya lots,
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By classydancer
On Sun Jan 23, 2005 12:04 AM
20, member, thanks
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By MrsJazzDancer
On Fri Feb 04, 2005 06:08 PM
That's a great description, I enjoyed reading that. I think the concept of syncopation applies too, just like in jazz music, you are more likely to encounter irregular tempo, sudden and sometimes unexpected changes in the movement or rhythm. Jazz dance is full of energy. My studio has a quote hanging up from one of the greats, Luigi "To dance, put your hand on your heart and feel the rhythm of your soul." I think this most applies to jazz dance!
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By barlowgirl_0527
On Sun Feb 06, 2005 12:39 PM
My most absolute favriote Movie with dancing is " Chicago " because it definitly portrays what Jazz dancing really was and should be today. Everyone watch it!!
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By MrsJazzDancer
On Sat Feb 12, 2005 07:20 PM
That is an awesome movie. My favorite dance scene is Cell Block Tango. Incredible!
re: What the Heck is Jazz Dance?
By hippyjazzdancer
On Tue Mar 01, 2005 03:36 PM
Yay! I've done 2 dances to that song (Cell Block Tango)!!
Love it! ^_^

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