Jazz dance is an umbrella term that can refer to several related dance styles. All of them are connected via common roots, namely tap, ballet, jazz music, and African-American rhythms and dance.

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.

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 Fosse’s 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.

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 doritiosand 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.

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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz_dance

What an amazing work-out. 2 hours of exercises which vaguely resemble dance has left me drained.. tired.. paining all over… and stress-free.

Everyone should try it.



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