Jazz Dance

Jazz Clothes

When dressing for a jazz dance class, think about wearing clothing that allows you to move. Jazz classes are casual and relaxed, so feel free to select your own clothing. A dancer's body lines need to be visible, however, so baggy clothes are generally discouraged. Tights and leotards are fine, but most jazz dancers prefer to wear jazz or dance pants.

Jazz pants are usually boot-cut or flared styles, as tight bottoms would restrict ankle movement. Tops usually worn for jazz include form-fitting tank tops, t-shirts or leotards. Check with your teacher before buying jazz shoes, as many classes have preferences

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Jazz Class Structure

If you are attending your first jazz dance class, get ready to really move. A good jazz class explodes with energy. With music styles ranging from hip-hop to show tunes, the beat alone will get you moving

Most jazz teachers begin with a thorough warm-up, then lead the class in a series of stretching exercises and isolation movements. Isolations involve moving one part of the body while the rest of the body remains still. Jazz dancers also practice the art of suspension.

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Jazz Steps

You will be taught a variety of jazz steps by your teacher. However, you will want to try to make each step your own. In a jazz class, dancers are encouraged to add their own personality to make each step unique and fun. Jazz steps include basic turns including chaines, piques, pirouettes, jazz turns, and some ballet turns, to name a few.

Another popular jazz move is the "contraction." A contraction is accomplished by contracting the torso, with the back curved outward and the pelvis pulled forward. Learning jazz dance technique takes a lot of practice..

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Jazz Dancers

Many famous dancers have helped shape what we know as jazz dance today. Considered the father of jazz dance technique, Jack Cole developed techniques that are used today in musicals, films, television commercials, and videos. His style emphasized isolations, rapid directional changes, angled placement and long knee slides. Winning eight Tony awards, Bob Fosse was a musical theater choreographer and director, and a film director.

Characteristic of his dance style are inward knees, rounded shoulders, and full-body isolations. Considered a founder of jazz dance, Gus Giordano was a master teacher and gifted choreographer.

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