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History of Jazz Dance
History of Jazz Dance History of Jazz Dance
´╗┐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. 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.

Common jazz dance moves include:
Ball change
Barrel turn
Battement
Calypso
Cat walk
Catch step
Chaine
Chasses
Fan kick
Hip walk
Jazz run
Jazz square
Jazz walk
Jete
Pas de bouree
Pencil spin
Pique passe
Pirouettes
Pivot step
Renverse
Split leap
Stag leap
Switch leap
Toe rise
Touch step

Notable Directors, Dancers, and Choreographers
Katherine Dunham, considered the grandmaster of jazz dance technique. She was a key inspiration to most modern jazz dance legends.
Jack Cole, considered the father of jazz dance technique. He was a key inspiration to Matt Mattox, Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins, Gwen Verdon, and many other choreographers.
Bob Fosse, a noted jazz choreographer who created a new form of jazz, inspired by Fred Astaire and the burlesque and vaudeville styles.
Gus Giordano, a highly influential jazz dancer and choreographer.
Eugene Louis Facciuto (aka Luigi), a dancer who in the 1950s created a warm-up routine designed to prepare his body for dancing after being paralyzed in a car accident. Luigi is the father and innovator of jazz dance.
Jerome Robbins, choreographer for a number of hit musicals, including Peter Pan, The King and I, Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy, Funny Girl, and West Side Story. He also directed the last four. He also founded the ballet company Ballets USA.
Gwen Verdon, known for her roles in Damn Yankees, Chicago, and Sweet Charity.

Before the 1950s, jazz dance referred to dance styles that originated from African American vernacular dance.

In the 1950s, a new genre of jazz dance -- modern jazz dance -- emerged, with roots in Caribbean traditional dance.

Every individual style of jazz dance has roots traceable to one of these two distinct origins.

Jazz was a big hit in the early 50's and it is still a well loved style of dance all over the world.

Moves Used In Jazz Dance include Jazz Hands, Kicks, Leaps, Sideways Shuffling, Rolled Shoulders, and Turned Knees.

History
The term "Jazz" was first applied to a style of music and dance during World War I. Jazz in a dance form, however, originates from the vernacular dances of Africans when they were brought to the Americas on slave ships. This dance form developed alongside jazz music in New Orleans in the early 1900s.

Beginning in the 1930s and continuing through the 1960s, Jazz dance transformed from this vernacular form into a theatre-based performance form of dance that required a highly trained dancer. During this time, choreographers from the modern and ballet dance worlds experimented with the jazz dance style. This includes choreographers like George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Jack Cole, Hanya Holm, Helen Tamiris, Michael Kidd, Jerome Robbins, and Bob Fosse.

All of these choreographers influenced jazz by requiring highly trained dancers to perform a specific set of movements, which differed greatly from the colloquial form of New Orleans in the 1900s. Also during this time period (circa. 1950) jazz dance was profoundly influenced by Caribbean and other Latin American dance styles which were introduced by anthropologist and dancer Katherine Dunham. Jazz is also like choreography too.

Elements
Students performing jazz dance at Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City as part of Culture Week activities
Throughout its history, jazz dance has developed in parallel to popular music. This pattern of development has resulted in a few elements of movement key to the dance style, the most important being that jazz is they physical embodiment of the popular music of a given time. An example of this is that during a down time of jazz dancing from 1945-1954, when big bands and dance halls were declining, the vernacular of the dance followed less jazz music and leaned more toward rock and roll, creating moves like "The Monkey" and "The Jerk".

Syncopated rhythm is a common characteristic in jazz music that was adapted to jazz dance in the early twentieth century and has remained a significant characteristic.

Isolations are a quality of movement that were introduced to jazz dance by Katherine Dunham.

Improvisation was an important element in early forms of jazz dance, as it is an important element of jazz music.

A low center of gravity and high level of energy are other important identifying characteristics of jazz dance.

Other elements of jazz dance are less common and are the stylizations of their respective choreographers. One such example are the inverted limbs and hunched-over posture of Bob Fosse.

Notable Directors, Dancers, and Choreographers
Michael Jackson, known as "The King Of Pop"

Katherine Dunham, an anthropologist, choreographer, and pioneer in Black theatrical dance. She introduced isolations jazz dance.

Jack Cole, considered the father of jazz dance technique. He was a key inspiration to Matt Mattox, Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins, Gwen Verdon, and many other choreographers. He is credited with popularizing the theatrical form of jazz dance with his great number of choreographic works on television and Broadway.

Eugene Louis Facciuto (aka "Luigi"), an accomplished dancer who, after suffering a crippling automobile accident in the 1950s, created a new style of jazz dance based on the warm-up exercises he invented to circumvent his physical handicaps. The exercise routine he created for his own rehabilitation became the world's first complete technique for learning jazz dance.

Bob Fosse, a noted jazz choreographer who created a new form of jazz dance that was inspired by Fred Astaire and the burlesque and vaudeville styles.

Gus Giordano, an influential jazz dancer and choreographer, known for his clean, precise movement qualities.

Jerome Robbins, choreographer for a number of hit musicals, including Peter Pan, The King and I, Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy, Funny Girl, and West Side Story.

Gwen Verdon, known for her roles in Damn Yankees, Chicago, and Sweet Charity.

David Winters known for his role as A-Rab in West Side Story and as an award-winning choreographer for movies and TV programs.

Gene Kelly, award winning dance film icon. Known for continuing his career for over 60 years. Work can be found in Singin' in the Rain and On the Town.

Michael Bennett, director, writer, choreographer, and dancer who was a tony award winner. A Chorus Line and Dream Girls are examples of some of his work.










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