What is Jazz Dance?

Jazz dances are fun to learn and perform. This is the type of dance that is not only entertaining but also highly interesting, what with its distinct origin and impressive techniques.

The practice of jazz dance can be dated back to the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. It gives credit to the African American vernacular dances that started to emerge, offering a range of dance styles. It was in the 1950s when the Caribbean traditional dance gave birth to the modern jazz dance. This Caribbean traditional dance had various dancing styles and it is noted that modern jazz was attributed to one of its styles that have evolved through the years.

Modern jazz dance was often associated with tap dancing. Tap dancing was notably one of the most prominent dance steps of the 1950s and was also accompanied by jazz music when performed. As the years passed, jazz dancing evolved, giving birth to various styles and concert performance techniques. It was also during this time when prominent origins of the jazz dance were noted, with styles such as Cakewalk, Charleston, Black Bottom, Jitterbug, Boogie Woogie, and Swing being introduced.

Soon after, modern jazz dance begins to gain traction among audiences and dancers in the international scene. The world began to embrace jazz dancing with the influence of Americans. It thrived during the 1950s, even when there was a dominance of other forms of entertainment. It has also entered Broadway giving electricity to every show and was recognized as one of the best performances in musicals such as Chicago and Cabaret.

Famous choreographer Jack Cole is considered as one of the prominent figures in popularizing jazz dance. He is regarded as the father of jazz dance who has made a great influence in many dancing communities with his sheer talent and dedication.

Up to this day in the 21st century, modern jazz is considered one of the most important ingredients in musical theater performances. Since the 1950s, jazz dance has not left the musical industry, with evident presence in modern performances in music videos and dance competitions to boot.

Modern jazz has also greatly influenced dance styles. Modern jazz dance frequently influences other styles of dance such as ballet, contemporary, and lyrical, to mention just a few. It’s also ever-evolving as it is equally influenced by the styles of dances that it influences.

What does it take to be a jazz dancer?

Just like other forms of dancing, learning how to be a jazz dancer also requires a high degree of passion for the art and disciple to master it. A good dancer must know all the excellent techniques of jazz dance. It also helps if the dancer has a good knowledge of ballet dancing as learning the style also comes with ballet training. Having a good instructor should also be a must as learning jazz cannot be learned virtually or through online classes. It is recommended that you look for dance training institutions that will provide you with the utmost learning in this type of dance style.

When it comes to clothing, jazz dancing requires one to wear a specific type of clothing or jazz costume. What specifically distinguishes jazz clothing from others is the type of shoes. Jazz shoes have suede soles that allow the performer to seamlessly execute spins, twists, and turns without losing balance. The performers need jazz shoes to execute their steps around the performance space without slipping over.

These shoes feature soft leather which gives the dancer room to flex his foot in the flooring. The shoes may also be designed with PVC upper and mesh insoles for the added performance boost. It has also the capabilities to adapt and be molded into the shape of the dancer’s foot, giving the dancer the ability to reach the highest degree of excellence.

How to find the right jazz shoes?

There are many manufacturers and distributors of jazz shoes around the world. One just needs to do in-depth research on where to find the best quality. Aside from the features mentioned above, one can choose from getting jazz shoes that are either high-rise, slip-on, low-rise, or lace up, depending on the preference of the dancer or the type of intensity the performance requires.

Purchasing a nice pair of jazz shoes is considered one of the good investments you will make as you learn your way through jazz dancing. Some best brands include Bloch, Dance Gear, Capezio and So Danca. These companies are also reputable in making dance clothing bags and accessories a dancer needs.

Photo Credits
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