Jazz Dancing

Written by Jill Morrison
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Jazz dancing began in the early 1900s when jazz music was popular. Jazz dance steps were developed to work with jazz music of this time. However, jazz dance has evolved over the years and many new elements have been added to this style of dance. Jazz dance today may not look the same as when jazz dance was created.

The Evolution of Jazz Dancing

Jazz dancing is a dance style that blends the dances of the folk culture in North America. Many different jazz dances were created in the '20s, including the Charleston, Shimmy, Fox Trot, Shag, Black Bottom, Frisco, and Lindy Hop. You could see these dances performed in bars, brothels, and dance halls across the country. These dance steps were then use in vaudeville, musicals, and other formats for the development of "stage dancing."

Today, stage dancing is considered to be jazz dancing. Jazz dance was primarily performed by men on the stage, but a few women gained popularity from performing jazz dance shows over the years as well. In time, jazz dance was performed by men and women equally and became incredibly popular. New categories of jazz dance emerged as well, including modern jazz, hip hop, and break dancing.

The jazz dance style was exciting, just as the rhythms, style, and syncopation of jazz music was exciting when it emerged. Both jazz music and jazz dance thrive on improvisation and unexpected changes. Jazz dance can be seen today in musicals, music videos, television specials, films, concerts, and various other types of stage shows.


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