Jazz has long been one of the most popular dance styles, partly due to its popularity on television shows, Broadway musicals, movies, music videos and commercials, and partly because it's incredibly fun and endlessly challenging for students to master.
Jazz classes consist of many steps that are taught in a ballet class and a strong history of ballet training will be very helpful to students who wish to study Jazz, but stylistically speaking the emphasis is completely different. Unique moves, fancy footwork, big leaps and quick turns will be part of almost every class as will high energy warm ups and across the floor combinations.
For all dance classes, students should wear clothing that allows them to move. In a Jazz class, a dancer's body lines need to be visible so baggy clothes are generally discouraged. Tights and leotards are fine, but most jazz dancers prefer to wear jazz or dance pants. Leather soled jazz shoes are also recommended on our Marley floors. Talk to the teacher if you have specific questions about shoes or clothing.
Jazz Class Structure:
If you are attending your first jazz dance class, get ready to really move. A good jazz class explodes with energy. With music styles ranging from hip-hop to show tunes, the beat alone will get you moving. Class will begin with a thorough warm-up that included stretching exercises and isolation movements.
You will be taught a variety of jazz steps that include basic turns such as chaines, piques, pirouettes, jazz turns, and some ballet turns. Leaps include grande jetes, turning jumps, and tour jetes. Learning jazz dance technique takes a lot of practice.
Many famous dancers have helped shape what we know as jazz dance today. Considered the father of jazz dance technique, Jack Cole developed techniques that are used today in musicals, films, television commercials and videos. His style emphasized isolations, rapid directional changes, angled placement and long knee slides. Winning eight Tony awards, Bob Fosse was a musical theater choreographer and director, and a film director. Characteristic of his dance style are inward knees, rounded shoulders and full-body isolations. Considered a founder of jazz dance, Gus Giordano was a master teacher and gifted choreographer. His dance style has influenced modern jazz dancing. Many jazz teachers employ his methods in their own classes.