Although jazz dance’s roots lie in African American dance and music of the early 1900s, the iconic style we now know as “classical jazz” hit its stride in the middle of the 20th century, in the work of choreographers and teachers like Jack Cole, Bob Fosse and Luigi. (Think smooth stretching, isolations and lots of épaulement.) Their styles still shape your typical jazz class today. (Lea Marshall , 2008, www.dancespirit.com)

Jazz technique includes:

  • Combinations in place and through space at slow and fast tempos
    • Adagio – controlled extensions in centered and off centered positions, parallel and turned out rotations of the limbs; shaping of the torso; shifting of the body axis.
    • Allegro – demonstrating command of rhythmic complexity and speed; large jumps, legs folded and extended demonstrating elevation.
    • Combinations demonstrating turns (including pirouettes) and syncopation at slow and fast tempos.
  • Torso isolations and that demonstrate rhythmic sophistication and improvisation skills.
    • In Place – total body movement at all spatial levels demonstrating rhythm, musical phrasing and body isolations.