Jazz Shoes

Written by Jill Morrison
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A wide variety of styles for jazz shoes are available since jazz dancing can be performed in so many different ways. Jazz dancing began at the end of World War I with the flapper generation. Jazz music facilitated the development of this dance style. Jazz music is characterized by its tendency to use riffs and to stress the second and forth beats of a musical bar. Swing is another form of jazz music which animates 4/4 time in music.

Jazz is much more of a free art form than other dance styles. It is not as rigid about technique and skills as classical ballet dancing. Therefore jazz shoe styles may differ considerably. Certain shoes, such as oxford styles, are worn for swing dancing which is a form of jazz dancing. The most popular form of jazz dancing is currently featured in dance schools and dance performances. It incorporates current and upbeat moves with a technique that was developed from ballet dancing.

Qualities of Jazz Shoes

Jazz shoes are typically soft like ballet shoes, but they have a more contemporary style and can be used for different types of movement. Early jazz shoe styles had a felt sole and some jazz shoe styles continue to feature felt soles. However, rubber soles are currently more popular because they provide more traction and prevent dancers from slipping during difficult movement patterns. Black is the most common color for jazz style shoes, but they can also be found in tan, white, and sometimes in specialty colors.

Jazz shoes can be found in soft styles that rest below the ankle, at the ankle, or as boots that cover the ankle. They can be slip-on styles, or they may have laces. A popular trend in jazz style shoes is the dance sneaker. Dance sneakers are sturdy like regular sneakers, but they have a split sole that allows dancers to point their toes while wearing the shoes. Dance sneakers can be purchased in a variety of colors as well. They are often worn for more athletic styles of jazz dancing.


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