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What Is Jazz Dance

  • Date Submitted: 04/25/2013 05:45 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 51.5 
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What is Jazz Dance:   Then and Now
The early roots of jazz dance came from African culture imported by slaves.   In Africa, the natives danced to celebrate the cycles of life and children and adults all depended on jazz dance to express their cultural beliefs.   Slaves continued to dance through life, but their dance was greatly influenced by the European background of plantation owners.   Jazz dance has also been influenced by social dance and popular music and as popular culture changes, so does jazz dance.
The style of African dance is low; bent knees, hand clapping, and emphasized body isolations.   This dance style gave African American slaves in America parts of their cultural identity, as many were cut off from their families, languages, and tribal traditions.   The rhythms and movements of African dance:   the foot stamping and tapping, clapping, and rhythmic vocal sounds were woven into what we now call jazz.
As African dance slowly integrated into a new genre of dance with European influence, it also introduced many other forms of dance.   As jazz dance was blending with the classical technique of ballet and the natural bodily expression of modern dance, jazz developed a sophisticated artistic quality.   Jazz dance combined to other dances and created new dance styles such as tap dance, modern jazz dance, aerobic dance classes, and breakdancing.
Jazz dance has had many influential individuals but a few of the most prominent ones include Jack Cole, Gene Kelly, Jerome Robbins, Matt Mattox, and Charles Atkins.   These choreographers and dancers not only changed jazz dance, but also changed the choreography we see in many Broadway and Hollywood productions today.
In the 1980s, the introduction of advanced technology and music videos combined jazz, ballet, and street dance in striking and innovative ways.   Some major choreographers of this period include Michael Peters, Paula Abdul, Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Michael Jackson.   Michael Jackson made a huge...


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