The History of Jazz Dance

I started Jazz dancing at the age of six and it soon became my favorite style of dance!  Jazz has roots dating back to the 1800s.  The first official American “jazz dancer” was Joe Frisco who danced around the year 1910.  Jazz moves were created by slaves who often danced and sang as a source of entertainment.  Slave traders 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 came out of Africa while Jazz dance itself came about as a crossbreed of American culture.  Jazz music obviously inspired some of the first documented jazz dance choreography.  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.  After being passed down through plantation ancestors and early restaurants and night clubs, jazz dance began to be taught in studios.

By the early 1900s, people began doing such dances as the cakewalk, Charleston, jitterbug, swing and the Lindy Hop, all of which were forms of jazz dancing.  Jazz also began to appear more in Broadway shows and musical comedies.  Modern jazz was developed by choreography greats such as Bob Fosse, whose work is emulated in the ultimate of jazz dance shows, Chicago and Cabaret.  To properly execute jazz dance steps, many teachers still believe in teaching a firm classical ballet foundation so that bodies can develop with strength and agility.  Jazz dance is able to be traditionally peppy and bright, but can also take on a flowy and soulful feel.  There are no limits to its creativity, and this has continued to rank it as one of the most popular forms of dance available in studios today.  Over the last year, I decided to focus on classical ballet, but my dance school also teaches jazz.  I take one jazz class per week and I still love it more than ever!

History of Jazz Dance
About Jazz Dance History

Velocity - Ainsley 2014 -3a Velocity - Ainsley 2014 -4a

This is me last year in costume for a jazz dance to the song, Knock on Wood.  It was a fast paced disco song, but the dance style was jazz.

Velocity - Ainsley 2014 -5a Velocity - Ainsley 2014 -6a

And this is me last year in costume (postal worker) for our jazz dance to Return to Sender by Elvis Presley.  This dance was slower, but still a jazz dance.

Singing and Dancing at the Arts Festival

Hey everybody! Woo hoo! I got out of school early today. We went on a field trip today and my parents chaperoned, so they checked me out at the end of the trip and we got to come home. Funny thing is I wrote a blog post on April 6th talking about how my dance company rehearsed all weekend for our upcoming performance at the Arts Festival. Well, we are performing tonight, but our school field trip today was to……wait for it……the Arts Festival! So, yes, I am going twice today. It was actually a field trip/performance by the 4th and 5th grade Honors Choir. The choir performed for the whole school this morning at 9:00 a.m. Then we left to go to the Arts Festival. Our performance wasn’t until 2:00 p.m. this afternoon, so when we got there we broke into groups and walked around to look at the art. My parents had my group, of course. We ate lunch by the pond and fed the ducks. I gave them leftover bread from my sandwich. We played in the children’s playground, went to the craft tent to make kites and plant seeds that we could take home. I chose green bean seeds. We ate Kona Ice and toured the botanical gardens and greenhouse. Finally, we made canvas paintings. After that, it was time for us to perform. Our performance was a play/musical with Broadway musicals as the theme. There are about 50 of us kids in the choir. Each of us dressed up like a character from a Broadway musical and we sang famous songs from musicals. Kids dressed up like characters from Grease; Mary Poppins; Annie; Oklahoma; Wicked; The Wizard of Oz; Cats; Thirteen; Suessical, the Musical; The Sound of Music; Dreamgirls; Hairspray; Chicago; and a few more! Guess who I dressed up as………………….
DSCF0213-crop1 Do you like my flapper outfit from Chicago?
DSCF0214 dar
Well, I’m home now and going to take a nap. I have to go back to the Arts Festival tonight at 7:00 p.m. to dance. I am in nine numbers. I’m going to be really tired when I get home tonight. Good thing I don’t have any homework! Here are some other photos from the trip…..