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Jazz dance was inspired by the African slave dances in the United States that Southern plantation owners would encourage their slaves to perform. Even.

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Presentation on theme: "Jazz dance was inspired by the African slave dances in the United States that Southern plantation owners would encourage their slaves to perform. Even."— Presentation transcript:


2 Jazz dance was inspired by the African slave dances in the United States that Southern plantation owners would encourage their slaves to perform. Even then, dance was seen as an uplifting, recreational activity, and was therefore healthy for both the slaves’ psyche as well as their bodies. Before the 1950s, jazz dance referred to dance styles that originated from African American vernacular dance. In the 1950s, a new genre of jazz dance—modern jazz dance—emerged, with roots in Caribbean traditional dance. Every individual style of jazz dance has roots traceable to one of these two distinct origins. First brought to the stage by white dancers mimicking the black slaves they had seen, jazz has since gone through a turbulent history; transforming from what was once considered one of the most lewd and inappropriate forms of dance to one of the more widely known and practiced. Today jazz is even blended with other forms of dance and music to create slightly different flavoured styles such as theatre jazz, contemporary jazz, lyrical jazz, and jazz funk. 1

3 Early roots of jazz dance came from African culture imported by slaves. In Africa, natives danced to celebrate cycles of life: birth, puberty, marriage and death. Children, adults and the elderly all depended on dance to express their cultural beliefs. Drums, string instruments, chimes, reedpipes and other percussion instruments set the beat for the dancers. Slaves continued to interpret life through dance. However, their dances, while based on the traditions of Africa, were influenced by the European background of the plantation owners, so the dances changed. The only place where African dances remained outside this influence was Congo Square in New Orleans. From 1805 to 1880 slaves were permitted to dance by the French and Spanish Catholics who inhabited the area. They felt that providing slaves with an opportunity to dance under supervision would make the slaves happier, monitor plans for revolt, and prevent secret voodoo dances from being performed. A scene portrayed of Congo Square 2

4 Watching slaves dance led whites to stereotyping. Whites began blackening their faces and imitating slave dancers as early as the 1800s. John Durang, one of the first American professional dancers, described parts of his routine in 1789 as containing "shuffles," a movement of slave dancers. Another big influence on dance in America was the Minstrel show, which was popular from 1845 to 1900. Composed of a troupe of up to fifty performers who traveled from city to city, the Minstrel show portrayed blacks as slow, shuffling idiots or sharply dressed dandies. The first worldwide dance imitating slave dancers was the "Jump Jim Crow" by Thomas Rice in 1828. This dance copied the movement of a crippled slave and became the basis for an era of American entertainment founded on the crude stereotype of the dancing slave. Jazz dance often referred to tap dance because tap dancing, set to jazz music, was one of the predominant dances of the era. Jazz dance evolved over time to spawn a diverse range of social and concert dance styles. During the later jazz age, popular forms of jazz dance included the Cakewalk, Black Bottom,Charleston, Jitterbug, Boogie Woogie, swing and the related Lindy Hop. Today, many of these dance styles are still popular and continue to be practiced and taught. 3

5 After the 1950s pioneers such as Katherine Dunham took the essence of Caribbean traditional dance and made it into a performing art. With the growing domination of other forms of entertainment music, jazz dance evolved on Broadway into the new, smooth style that is taught today and known as modern jazz, while tap dance branched off to follow its own, separate evolutionary path. Jazz dancers often wear leather jazz shoes, to help them move smoothly when executing turns (e.g. pirouette). Prior to dancing, dancers typically perform exercises in order to warm up and stretch muscles so as to prevent injuries. In addition, core strengthening exercises are often used for conditioning. The performance style of jazz dance was popularized to a large extent by Bob Fosse's work, which is exemplified by Broadway shows such as Chicago, Cabaret, Damn Yankees, and The Pajama Game. Modern jazz dance continues to be an important element of musical theatre, and it can often be seen in music videos and competitive dance. A scene from Chicago Katherine Dunham 4

6 As in most forms of dance, technique is the foundation for all modern jazz dance movement. In particular, jazz dancers benefit from a sound working knowledge of ballet technique and, consequently, hip hop dance curriculum commonly includes ballet training. Example of a Toe Rise Modern jazz dance is frequently influenced by other dance styles such as acro, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, and hip-hop. In turn, many other dance styles are influenced by jazz dance. Modern jazz dance encompasses various techniques, including: Center control: By treating the center of balance as the point from which movements emanate, it becomes possible to maintain balance and control while executing movements that would otherwise take the dancer off balance. Spotting: This enables dancers to maintain balance and control while executing turns such as pirouettes and fouettés, by reducing the dizzying effect of repeated rotation. Pointing: When pointing, dancers stretch their ankles and point their toes so as to align their feet with the leg lines in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Toe rise: In a toe rise, the dancer rises from a kneeling position while supporting the body on the tops of the toes. 5

7 Michael Jackson, or "The King Of Pop" revolutionized the dance, introducing the moonwalk,the tip toes and the spin. Katherine Dunham, a pioneer in Black theatrical dance. Jack Cole, considered the father of jazz dance technique. He was a key inspiration to Matt Mattox, Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins, Gwen Verdon, and many other choreographers. Eugene Louis Facciuto (aka "Luigi"), an accomplished dancer who, after suffering a crippling automobile accident in the 1950s, created a new style of jazz dance based on the warm-up exercises he invented to circumvent his physical handicaps. Bob Fosse, a noted jazz choreographer who created a new form of jazz dance that was inspired by Fred Astaire and the burlesque and vaudeville styles. Gus Giordano, an influential jazz dancer and choreographer. Jerome Robbins, choreographer for a number of hit musicals, including Peter Pan, The King and I, Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy, Funny Girl, and West Side Story. Gwen Verdon, known for her roles in Damn Yankees, Chicago, and Sweet Charity. David Winters, known for his role as A-Rab in West Side Story and as an award winning choreographer for movies and TV programs. Michael Jackson Jack ColeBob FosseGus Giordano Jerome Robbins Gwen VerdonDavid Winters 6

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