Jazz Dance Essay

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Sporre (2011) stated, “The compositional elements of line, form, and repetition apply to the use of the human body in exactly the same sense that they apply to those elements in painting and sculpture”. The Charleston is a jazz dance that was heard of from the early 1900s, but never became popular until the 1920s after its presence in the musical, “Runnin’ Wild.” It was first known throughout the Southern part of American, especially in Charleston, SC. The Charleston may be danced solo, with a partner or by a group. In 1925, tap Charleston was invented where dancers would incorporate tap dance while doing the Charleston. The early form of this type of jazz was done by repetition foot stamps and handclaps and performed to complex rhythms. Although it started as a black folk dance, it became a ballroom dance after its exposure to the nation and lost some of the liveliness and vigorous enthusiasm. While dancing the Charleston, the knees are bent, and then straightened as the feet pivot in and out. There is repetition of forward and backward kicks while moving forward. The jitterbug is another form of Jazz dance that became popular in the 1930s. It is a highly energetic performance and can range from the basic to more advanced steps. There are only four steps in the basic steps. It follows a repetition of slow, slow, quick, and quick and is counted in 6 counts of music. Unlike the Charleston that has a forward movement, the jitterbug has steps to the side and on the 5th and 6th count, and you do a rock step to the back. Although a lot of repetition is in both Charleston and jitterbug dances, the Charleston does not require the counting of the steps. Both of these jazz dances are energetic and performed to high tempo music, but the body moves differently. They do however process some of the same aspects as folk and modern dance. They are all free flowing dance styles.

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