American Music and Culture: Jazz Dance
Jazz dance, is defined as any dance to jazz accompaniments, composed of a profusion of forms. Jazz dance paralleled the birth and spread of jazz itself from roots in black American society and was popularized in ballrooms by the big bands of the swing era (1930s and ’40s). It radically altered the style of American and European stage and social dance in the 20th century. The term is sometimes used more narrowly to describe popular stage dance (except tap dance) and jazz-derived or jazz-influenced forms of modern dance. It excludes social dances lacking jazz accompaniment— the rumba and other Latin-American dances. The original steps were exemplified out in the plantations, and jazz dance itself came about as a crossbreed of American culture, European jigs and the music and movement were tradition of the African slaves. Jazz music obviously inspired some of the first documented jazz dance choreography, and this further adds to the rich and diverse history of jazz dance. Europe lent elegance to the technique; Africa gave it its movement and rhythm, and America allowed it to have the exposure and growing popularity that has sustained it as a cherished dance style today.
Jazz dance developed from both 19th- and 20th-century stage dance and traditional black social dances and their white ballroom offshoots. On the stage, minstrel show performers in the 19th century developed tap dancing from a combination of Irish jigging, English clog dancing, and African rhythmic stamping. Tap dance and such social dances as the cakewalk and shuffle became popular vaudeville acts and appeared in Broadway revues and musical comedies as these replaced vaudeville early in the 20th century. In addition, comedy, specialty, and character dances to jazz rhythms became standard stage routines. By the 1940s elements of jazz dance had appeared in modern dance and in motion picture choreography.
The History of Jazz Dance
During the early 1900's...