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Jazz dance facts for kids

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Alvin Ailey - Revelations
Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theater
(Portrait of Lee Sherman, Radio City Music Hall, New York, N.Y., ca. June 1947) (LOC) (5436427906)
Jazz dance at the Radio City Music Hall, New York ~1947

Jazz dance is a term used to describe the performance dance technique and style that emerged in America in the early twentieth century. Jazz dance began as an African American social dance that had roots in African slave dances. Over time, a clearly defined jazz genre emerged, changing from a street dance to a theatrical dance performed on stage. It is, like some other forms of dance and music, an African influence in western culture.


The term was first used to describe dances done to the new-fangled jazz music of the early 20th century, but its origin lies in the dances brought from Africa by slaves shipped to America. At that time, it referred to any dance done to jazz music, which included both tap dance and jitterbug. A defining feature was its style of improvisation."

Its origins were in social dancing to the music of jazz, but it developed into a type of stage dancing.

Today, jazz dance is taught to students of stage dancing. The ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) lists jazz dance under 'Modern Theatre', and the IDTA (International Dance Teachers Association) lists it in their 'Theatre Branch'. Professional stage dancers are certain to have some kind of jazz dance training. Modern ballet has also been influenced by jazz dance.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Jazz (baile) para niños

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