Dance - Jazz

Facts On Modern Jazz Dancing

Jazz is not just music, but is also a dance routine. Its popularity stems in many places -- television shows, live performance, movies, and even in commercials. In truth, there is no fixed style in jazz dancing. The moves are based on the person's interpretation of the music. It is mostly punctuated with highly energetic moves, swings, and leaps that can easily catch and enthrall the audience in rapt attention -- moves similar to that of a ballet dancer but with more energetic movements.

History Of Jazz Dancing

Jazz dancing started its roots in 1950 that stems off from the popular jazz music during that time. The dance form has taken its roots from the African American vernacular dance when captive African slaves entered the country in the 18th and 19th century.

The early jazz dance maneuvers are clearly that of tap dancing. Where performers set their tap sets in line with jazz music. The traditional dance steps of jazz evolved to adapt to different dance styles in the 1950's, namely Boogie, Swing, Jitterbug, Cakewalk, Lindy Hop, and other popular dances in the mid 19th century.

Modern jazz dance evolved nearing the 20th century when performers has taken their art to the theatrical industry. The traditional dance evolved to include Broadway plays and was later introduced as modern jazz, which was also integrated to dancing competitions and musicals.

The Shoes

Modern jazz dance requires the right footwear to execute complicated footwork with ease. Considering that the dance involves a lot of swings, leaps, and pirouettes common in Ballet routines; the shoes have to be light and sturdy. Jazz shoes are often made from high-quality leather with flat soles for smooth turns and leaps. The soles are also made flat without any protrusions to incorporate the sliding maneuver that many jazz dancers tend to perform on stage. You can imagine this as a leather made ballet shoes if you like.

The Technique

Jazz dance is a blend of different dancing styles, namely ballet. Footwork is essential and requires great leg and foot strength in order to pull it off. If you observe a performer of the art, you will see their moves influenced by the grace and beauty of known styles, like ballet, hip-hop, acro, and contemporary dance moves.

Curriculum of jazz dance classes starts off with basic moves in ballet -- namely the improvement of body control and balance. Performers are urged and trained to find their center of gravity in order to execute complicated maneuvers and turns without falling. Another technique common for this dance style is the "spotting". This allows the dancer to execute pirouettes and turns while maintaining their balance.

There are no fixed steps in a jazz dance. Performers are urged to utilize their creative and personal interpretation of the music to their forms. However, jazz dance choreographers always put their charges to undergo an intensive training to improve their overall leg power and balance to flawlessly execute their unique maneuvers.

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