Jazz dancing is a mixture of different styles of dance that began in the early 1900s and is rooted in the African-American movement. Joe Frisco is a man who was known for this kind of dance. In 1910, he danced close to the ground and in unrestrained fashion while tossing, in a juggling manner, his cigar and his derby. The style of jazz dance was tap dance up until the mid-1950s and was performed always with Jazz music like the Charleston, Lindy Hop, Boogie Woogie, Swing, and the Jitterbug. Renowned choreographer, Katherine Dunham, studied the dances within the cultures of Shango, Martinique, Tobago, Trinidad, Jamaica, and Haiti and helped to make this African American dance an art.
Dunham took this style of dance to Broadway and Hollywood where it was embraced and refined. The more modern jazz dances are smooth and get their roots from ballet, tap, and the jazz music can find performed in the musicals Chicago, Cabaret, and Pajama Game all the way to the Las Vegas showgirl performances and music videos. Jazz dance uses the techniques of a ballet dancer for strength and balance when doing the slow movements. The more typical Jazz dance has movements that are sharp. Incorporating the ballet helps to refine the style and make it smoother.
Jazz is a very versatile style of dance and can be combined with other styles of dance such as hip-hop, contemporary, and lyrical. Jazz dance can be mixed with other styles of dance to take it to another level. For example, Street fusion jazz dance was created in the United Kingdom in the 1980s when Funk music was also popular. This allows a lot of variety within the dance style itself. The two main groups known for street fusion jazz dance are Brother in Jazz and Jazz Cotech and IDG (I Dance Jazz). There are several jazz dancers that are famous such as Bob Fosse, Jack Cole, Jerome Robbins, and Fred Astaire.
Jazz dance continues to grow in popularity over the years as more people are using this style of music to help them stay active and healthy. It is a fun kind of music that can really get you moving.