Topics: Jazz, Tap dance, Dance Pages: 3 (738 words) Published: November 18, 2013
Jazz dancing involves movements that are specially choreographed to West-African music compositions. The movements are termed as jazz, which is basically an umbrella term, and set to 'blues' notes, polyrhythms, improvisations, the 'swung' note, and syncopation. The Jazz form of dancing actually relates to several dance styles that are related, such as ballet, tap, and the African-American rhythms-and-dance styles.

This dance form originated in the late 1800s. The trend took time to catch on, but eventually did by the mid 1900s. Till the 1950s, jazz dancing was largely referred to as tap dancing, because of the routines set to jazz music.

The Jazz Age was characterized by the popularity of dance forms such as the Cakewalk, Charleston, Jitterbug, Black Bottom, Boogie Woogie, and the Lindy Hop. These styles developed at various venues, and were excellently executed by dedicated enthusiasts, who made even the most simplest step look quite elaborate.

The African Connection

In the early 1800s, when slavery existed in many parts of the world, slave trade was a popular business. It is this slave trade that led to the origination of jazz dance. In African culture, people used to dance in celebration of birth, puberty, marriage, and even death. Taking this tradition forward, slaves also danced as a form of interpretation of life. Their dance was primarily coordinated by drum beats. These slaves were taken to various regions like West Indies and America, and this is how jazz reached the American lands.

Contribution - African music generally accents the second and the fourth beat that gives a rebounding feeling, and thus, the 'swinging movement' was formed. The other major contribution of African influence are the polyrhythmic movements, in which individual body parts are moved according to different beats.

The Role of the Church

In America, slaves were not allowed to dance, by the Protestant Church. The Church strongly disapproved of any form of dance,...
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