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WHAT IS JAZZ DANCE?

Photo by: Tony Woodhead

It is not easy to give a unique definition of jazz dance. This definition includes various dance techniques connected to the African and European tradition, and to the musical experiments of the jazz genre, characterized by a lively, free body expression, composed of moments of tension and pause. It is a particularly choreographic and dynamic modern dance, the nature of which is enriched over time thanks to the contribution of new aspects and experiments.


Two main styles currently fall into this definition, modern jazz and lyrical jazz. The first style is particularly lively, while the second is more peaceful while retaining the instinctive and tribal aspects typical of jazz. The history of this style of dance is connected to the events of jazz music which at the beginning of the twentieth century began to appear in the United States of America, undergoing the influences of African culture that arrived in the American territories through the events of the African peoples who came from Europe.


From the moment when unfortunately the reasons for this migratory movement are to be found in the general history of the deportation of slaves, it is easier to understand how this music has become an expression of the state of these ethnic groups, a means of expressing one's position, one's values ​​and religious ideals, dreams and beliefs, and to preserve one's cultural roots.


Throughout the early part of the twentieth century, and therefore until the fifties, jazz dance is connected to the African American culture from which originates what we call jazz.

From the moment when unfortunately the reasons for this migratory movement are to be found in the general history of the deportation of slaves, it is easier to understand how this music has become an expression of the state of these ethnic groups, a means of expressing one's position, one's values ​​and religious ideas, dreams and beliefs, and to preserve one's cultural roots.rm and a clearer identity.


Later this dance was accepted in the world of Broadway proving to be particularly suitable for this expressive context. Thanks to these experiences, in fact, that expressive language that we call "modern jazz" has been formed. Within the combination of jazz and musical dance, the performances of the dancer on stage are central and play a key role, which is why this style has been called "performance style".


One of the characteristics of jazz dance today is that of being a dynamic language open to moments of experimentation and improvisation that make it a more creative and stimulating form of expression than other dances. It is thus suitable for those who want to combine technical aptitude with personal artistic research where factors such as coordination of their body, choreographic aspects, technical elements, but also purely expressive, come into play. This does not mean that the technique is not essential, on the contrary, this represents a fundamental aspect, an important base to which is added a creative component that gives colour and character to the performance. Jazz dancers perform a great job of knowledge and awareness of movement in a studio that integrates physical, technical and creative components at the same time. The result is of great expressive impact and artistic freedom. Is that why jazz dance is one of the most popular and loved dances in the world?

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