Jazz dance

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Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theater
Jazz dance at the Radio City Music Hall, New York ~1947
Cover of sheet music, 1918

Jazz dance is a dance genre which is easy to recognise, but not easy to define.[1] It is, like some other forms of dance and music, an African influence in western culture.

"[Jazz dance was] developed by African Americans in the first part of the twentieth century".[2]

Its origins were in social dancing to the music of jazz,[3] but it developed into a type of stage dancing.[4]

Today, jazz dance is taught to students of stage dancing. The ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) lists jazz dance under 'Modern Theatre', and the IDTA (International Dance Teachers Association) lists it in their 'Theatre Branch'. Professional stage dancers are certain to have some kind of jazz dance training.

Modern ballet has also been influenced by jazz dance. Balanchine's ballet Slaughter on Tenth Avenue was the climax of the Broadway musical On Your Toes (1936), Kathleen Dunham and Bob Fosse were famous jazz dancers and choreographers.

References[change | change source]

  1. Barnes, Clive. August 2000. Who's jazzy now?. Dance Magazine: #90. [1]
  2. Crane, Debra & Mackrell, Judith 2000. The Oxford dictionary of dance. Oxford University Press, p256. ISBN 0-19-860186-9
  3. Emery, Lynne Fauley [1972] 1988. Black dance: from 1619 to the present day. 2nd revised ed, Dance Horizons. ISBN 0-91662-263-0
  4. Stearns, Marshall & Jean 1968. Jazz dance: the story of American vernacular dance. New York & London: Macmillan.