Jazz dance is a performance dance technique and style that first emerged in the United States in the early twentieth century. Jazz dance may refer to vernacular jazz or to Broadway or theatrical jazz. Both genres build on African American vernacular styles of dancing that emerged with jazz music. Vernacular jazz dance includes ragtime dances, Charleston, Lindy hop, and mambo. Popular vernacular jazz dance performers include The Whitman Sisters, Florence Mills, Ethel Waters, Al & Leon, Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Dawn Hampton, and Katherine Dunham. Theatrical jazz dance performed on the concert stage was popularized by Jack Cole, Bob Fosse, Eugene Louis Faccuito, and Gus Giordano.
Jazz dance originated from the African American vernacular dance of the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. An early popular “jazz dancer” was vaudeville star Joe Frisco in the 1910s. He danced in a loose-limbed style close to the ground while juggling his derby, hat and cigar.
Until the middle of 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 1950, 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 a new, smooth style taught today and known as Modern Jazz, while tap dance continued to evolve on its own. The performance style was popularized by Bob Fosseâ€™s work, such as Chicago, Cabaret, Damn Yankees, and The Pajama Game.
Today, jazz dance is present in many different venues and different forms. Jazz dance thrives in dance schools and remains an essential part of musical theater choreography; it is sometimes interwoven with other dance styles as appropriate for the particular show. Jazz dancing can be seen in some music videos, and even a number of Las Vegas showgirls are jazz dancers. Jazz Dance can also be seen on the hit show, “So You Think You Can Dance”, and is performed by dance companies around the world.
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 jumps 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.
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.
Notable Directors, Dancers, and Choreographers
The Star’s Film is the only company in India that provides competitive training of international standards in western dance. The company, founded by Mr. Sanjay Khatri in 2010, works towards training kids, young individuals and adults in ballet and contemporary.