Jazz Dance

By: Abi Flores , Miller, PE AAI Fall I 2014

Dance Genre

Jazz dance originates from African American vernacular dance that came about during the late 1800s. The first official American "jazz dancer" was Joe Frisco around the year 1910, however its roots trace much further back than this, with many moves being created by the slaves as a much needed physical and emotional outlet. Slave traders often allowed them to dance during their journey over to America, as an attempt to keep them physically fit. Not only did it work, but it formed an impressive series of dance techniques and steps that made history.

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 tradition of the African American 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.

History of Jazz Dance

Jazz dance started in the 20th century in Africa and Europe. The leaders were Jack Cole,Katherine Dunham, and various others.

Famous Jazz Dancers

What is Jazz Dance?

Jazz dance is a form of modern dance which is heavily influenced by the sounds, rhythms, and techniques of jazz music. Like jazz music, this type of dance is highly individual, with an emphasis on showcasing individual skills, and dancers who specialize in it are skilled at improvisation as well as working with other dancers to achieve a desired look and feel. Many regions of the world offer classes in this type of dance, and some very accomplished dancers and choreographers work in this field.

MLA Format Citations

"Famous Jazz Dancers." LoveToKnow. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <http://dance.lovetoknow.com/Famous_Jazz_Dancers>.


"History of Jazz Dance." LoveToKnow. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <http://dance.lovetoknow.com/History_of_Jazz_Dance>.


"Jazz dance." Princeton University. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <https://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Jazz_dance.html>.


McMahon, Mary, and Bronwyn Harris. "Wise Geek." WiseGeek. Conjecture, 2 Aug. 2014. Web. 7 Sept. 2014. <http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-jazz-dance.htm>.

Broadway (By: Abi Flores , Miller, PE AAI Fall 2 2014)

Broadway genre

Broadway began in the 1900s. It was disregarded by critics and more "serious" theatre goers, as its themes were far from reality with a whimsical feel. These early productions were targeted at middle class New Yorkers itching for some entertainment. Black Crook- regarded as the very first musical, opened to a curious crowd just discovering the interesting fusion of ballet and dramatic acting. George Balanchine was one of the earliest recognized choreographers of Broadway dance history, having created the 1936 edition of Ziegfeld Follies. While Balanchine handled the ballet aspects of the production, it was another choreographer - Robert Alton - who brought forth the first modern dances, which still closely resemble many pieces performed by New York stage dancers today. The intrigue with Broadway dance came from the fact that it was the first time dance was showcased as part of a story plot.

MLA Citations

"Broadway Dance History." LoveToKnow. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. <http://dance.lovetoknow.com/Broadway_Dance_History>.


"TheatreDance.com | The Tradition | Broadway Dance Directors." TheatreDance.com | The Tradition | Broadway Dance Directors. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. <http://www.theatredance.com/choreographers/>.


"Ned Wayburn | Biography | AllMusic." AllMusic. Web. 3 Jan. 2015. <http://www.allmusic.com/artist/ned-wayburn-mn0000579261/biography>.


"Reflections in Sequins and Satin." : Broadway Choreographers: A Brief History. Web. 3 Jan. 2015. <http://reflectionsinverse.blogspot.com/2011/02/broadway-choreographers-brief-history.html>.