Forum: General / Jazz / Jazz - Beginners

Basic jazz steps???
By soccerocker420
On Sat Aug 29, 2009 07:40 PM

Hi Im auditioning for a musical and Im starting up jazz class soon, but auditions are before i start jazz and i was wondering if there were some basic jazz steps i could learn so that during auditions I will do better when they teach us a dance to see how fast we pick up on it and how good we are. :) Thanks in advance!

4 Replies to Basic jazz steps???

re: Basic jazz steps???
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Aug 29, 2009 09:21 PM
How many weeks do you have? Days? Hours?

Yes, there are a some basics you could learn that might help if this is, say, a high-school level audition.

How much dance (of any type) have you had before? Any gymnastics? Music? Do you know the difference between a waltz (3-counts) and a foxtrot (4-counts)? It's hard to advise you without knowing your background.

If you are looking for very, VERY beginning classes which you can take immediately, is there a Jazzercise class that you could take in you community tomorrow? Jazzercise is a good overall conditioning program which incorporates very basic dance terms, principles and jazz exercises and steps. They warm up with isolations which sometimes incorporate a little in the way of coordination exercises. Then they use very basic steps in quite simple (though often quite cute) combinations to a good variety of types of music. Go to www.jazzercise.com
Then click on "Learn the Moves" and get to know them before you go to your first class.

Or, even if you can't find a class in your neighborhood, that's not a bad Website for learning some very beginning moves. In addition to learning the grapevine, there, I'd suggest looking for the grapevine on YouTube. What aerobics classes call a "grapevine" is what I'd call a "half grapevine". It goes side-back-side-touch, then reverses direction, whereas a real jazz grapevine twists back and front like the plant: side-back-side-front-side-back-side-front... and on and on until you pause and touch.

In any case, I wish you all the best of luck on the audition.
re: Basic jazz steps???
By soccerocker420
On Sun Aug 30, 2009 08:09 AM
I don't really have much background in dancing i guess... im extremely graceful though and I have really strong legs
I dont have any classes tomorrow that I'd be able to go to...
Oh and I am in 8th grade and the musical is like a community theatre. :)
re: Basic jazz steps???
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Sun Aug 30, 2009 05:01 PM
The best thing you can do today to help you tomorrow is work on moving for about an hour or two. Play a song you like (maybe even a song from the show you're auditioning for?) and dance around. Pay attention to how you're moving and try to repeat it--as if you're choreographing your own dance that you would teach to someone else.

This may not help you describe the moves, but it gets you MUCH more aware of your body and it allows your mind to practice remembering a dance, which is what non-dancers should be working towards. There's no way to make you a dancer by then, but you can start to be a body-aware actor by then!
re: Basic jazz steps??? (karma: 1)
By Music_is_love13
On Thu Sep 17, 2009 05:43 PM
Three very basic musical theatre-y jazz steps: Ball Change, Kick, Chaînés Turn.
Let's start with the ball change, shall we? A ball change is simply stepping from one foot to the other. Seriously, that's it, and it's one of the hugest theatre dance moves ever. Stand on one foot, on the ball (get the name now?) of your foot. Now put your other foot down on the ball in front of that foot as your back foot lifts, and then your weight to your back foot so you're in the original position. This move is honestly just shifting weight from one foot to another. Here's a youtube video address in case that didn't make sense (ignore the bit about tap shoes): www.youtube.com . . .

Now on to our kick. I know you've done a kick before, and the real key is what your choreographer wants the kick to look like. Does he/she want an understated "I'm too cool for this" kick where your foot barely comes off the ground (think the Guys and Dolls gangsters) or a big Rockette "My foot is higher than my head kick" (think A Chorus Line). Here's a video that combines the ball change and a kick: www.youtube.com . . .

Last is our chaînés (pronounced SHA-nay) turn. To do this turn you stand with legs in 1st position or side by side step with your right leg and turn so your back is facing the audience, then step with your left leg so your front is facing front again. It's basically a little half turn on each legs. These are very tight turns often done strung together quickly, chaînés after chaînés after chaînés. That is why it is so important that you spot. Spotting is simple, but takes practice, and without it you will either fall on your butt, or go zig-zagging across the stage and bump into somebody. When you spot, you pick a point on the wall, maybe a bit of chipped paint or a curtain (it needs to be easy to see) and you pretend you love that spot. That spot is your new best friend, so as you turn you want to look at it as much as possible. That means that as your body turns, you're still looking at that spot for as long as possible, and when you can't hold your head any longer, you whip it around to find your spot again and repeat the whole process over again. That tiny trick keeps you turning in a straight line and keeps you from getting dizzy. Pretty spiffy, right? Right! Here's (you guessed it) another video: www.youtube.com . . .

On a final note, don't be afraid to take a Jazz class at your local Community Center. You may discover a new passion, and you'll definitely learn something. Good Luck!

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