Jazz has become one of the most popular dance styles in recent years, mainly due to its popularity on television shows, movies, music videos and commercials. People enjoy watching jazz dancers, as the dancing is fun and energetic.
Jazz dancing is a form of dance that showcases a dancer’s individual style and originality. Every jazz dancer interprets and executes moves and steps in their own way. This type of dancing is energetic and fun, consisting of unique moves, fancy footwork, big leaps and quick turns. To excel in jazz, dancers need a strong background in ballet, as it encourages grace and balance.
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.