Jazz Dance is one of the most diverse and transformative dance styles. There are many unique styles of Jazz dance that progressively change and grow throughout the years, effectively mirroring the social history, popular music choices, ethnic influences, historic events, and cultural changes that have happened in history. The term “jazz” came from the slang term “jazzin’ around” which was used to describe the behavior of people in social clubs during the turn of the 20th century.
The origins of jazz music and dance are originally found in the rhythms and movements from African dance and brought to America. Throughout the years many significant styles were introduced, including the 1920’s Charleston, Swing Dance, Latin Jazz, and Theatrical Jazz. It became a style where the musical notes, and rhythms of the music were shown in the dance steps.
Influenced by the training and techniques of ballet and modern dance, Theatrical Jazz grew under Jack Cole, “The Father of Theatrical Jazz”, Jerome Robbins, Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse to become a recognizable form of Jazz performance. This specifically unique American dance style is shown in Hollywood musicals, movies, and Broadway shows. Jazz dance continues to grow and evolve, blending other dance styles, musical rhythms, and cultural influences. Some identifying elements of jazz include, Isolations, grounded movements, and syncopation of movement.