LEVELS: From Beginner through Professional for ages 7-9, 10-12, 13-15, 16-18, and Adult.*
Jazz is a rhythmic stylized dance form conceived in America and had been known as the “American Folk Dance.” It evolved along the lines parallel to jazz music, or music that swings. Jazz dance is a blend of traditions in which the European influences contributed the elegance, and the African influences presented the rhythmic propulsion.
Jazz dance technique borrows from European classical ballet, American modern dance, and other varied dance lessons and techniques of folk dance brought to us from every corner of the world. The further blending of musical styles past and present, and current social and cultural influences, all make up the energy of jazz.
To achieve the most benefit from a jazz class, the dancer needs to be mentally and physically prepared. Warm-ups at the start of dance lessons may begin started standing, at the barre, or sitting on the floor. The jazz class warm-up should serve to raise the body temperature slowly, develop strength training, and continue to stretch for flexibility—all of which will aid in dance lessons in general, not just during jazz class. Proper alignment and centering are important considerations to help the dancer develop consistent technique.
At the conclusion of the warm-up, the student performs locomotor movements across the floor. The dance lessons class usually concludes with a jazz dance combination using elements to challenge the dancer’s technique, coordination, and memory. Dance is a visual performing art. On stage, the dancer’s goal is to communicate with the audience through movement. Therefore, performance quality needs to be thought about when the dancer is performing progressions and combinations during dance lessons. This will help to strengthen their stage performance skills.
The student must understand the rules of classroom etiquette. They should be considerate of the other dancers and their space throughout every jazz class. They should not talk or interrupt the teacher and must listen to the instructions, advice, and corrections of the teacher.