- Many jazz traditions were imported from Africa, where every tribe had a set of dances of its own, characterized by many rhythms going on at the same time. Different parts of the body move to the various rhythms – arms to one rhythm, the torso to another. Typically these dances were done solo, yet in a group for various ceremonies. In America, they became competitive for the purpose of entertainment.
- Jazz dance is an American form of dance that developed in the early 1900s as both African and European peoples began to mix their dance traditions. Africans focused on rhythms and torso movement and Europeans on musical harmonies, folk and social dances.
- During the past 15 years, jazz dance has become the basis of music videos. The combination of rap, singing and jazz dance have spawned “hip-hop.”
- Jazz, tap and musical theater dance are “cousins.” These forms of dance are tied to everyday music, songs and rhythms. Jazz dance involves a range of lively, often sensuous body movement and percussion techniques, with a mix of tap steps, social dances and ballet. New forms of jazz dance developed with new music, such as the Charleston, swing, rock and roll, and the Caribbean reggae.