close
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

The History of Jazz Dance in America

downloadDownload printPrint

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

Get custom essay

121 writers online

The History of Jazz Dance in America essay

The origin of jazz dance can be traced all the way back to Africa. In Africa, it was custom for natives to dance as a celebration of cycles in life such as birth, puberty, marriage, and death. This was to express their cultural beliefs. Drums, string instruments, chimes, reedpipes, and other percussion instruments set the beat for the dancers. When slaves were brought to America they continued to interpret life through dance. However, their dances, while based of the traditions of Africa, were influenced by the European background of the plantation owners, so the dances changed. In 1817, New Orleans set aside an area of parkland called Congo Square for African dance and informal music improvisation. That was seed ground for many jazz musicians and performers and served as an important early venue for one of New Orleans’ most famous exports, the wholly American art form called jazz. But the dancing continued to evolve, mostly settling into a vibrant style known as jazz dance that we now label tap. Watching slaves dance led whites to stereotyping. Whites began blackening their faces and imitating slave dancers as early as the 1800s. John Durang, one of the first American professional dancers, described parts of his routine in 1789 as containing “”shuffles,”” a movement of slave dancers. The first worldwide dance imitating slave dancers was the “”Jump Jim Crow”” by Thomas Rice in 1828.

Jazz dance paralleled the birth and spread of jazz itself from roots in black American society and was popularized in ballrooms by the big bands of the swing era. Since the 1920s jazz dance has meant a constantly evolving form of popular and artistic dance movement. As popular culture changes, so does jazz dance. Crucial to jazz dance is individuality and improvisation. In both early dances and 20th-century jazz dances, there is a noticeable continuity of dance elements and motions. The eagle rock and the slow drag as well as the Charleston and the jitterbug have elements in common with certain Caribbean and African dances. In addition, the slow drag contributed to the fish of the 1950s; the ring shout, which survived from the 18th into the 20th century, in isolated areas, influenced the cakewalk.

About 1900 the cakewalk, popularized through stage shows, became a craze in European and American ballrooms. In its wake appeared other social dances such as the Charleston, the jitterbug, the twist, Black Bottom, Boogie Woogie, Swing, Lindy Hop and disco dancing. Some, like the fox-trot, borrowed European dance steps and fitted them to jazz rhythms. The growth of radio, television, and recording, which popularized black music among wide audiences, greatly aided the diffusion of these dances. Fusing ballet with jazz has led in recent years to the formation of such troupes as Canada’s Les Ballets Jazz.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

The History of Jazz Dance in America. (2018, December 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-history-of-jazz-dance-in-america/
“The History of Jazz Dance in America.” GradesFixer, 03 Dec. 2018, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-history-of-jazz-dance-in-america/
The History of Jazz Dance in America. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-history-of-jazz-dance-in-america/> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2022].
The History of Jazz Dance in America [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Dec 03 [cited 2022 Sept 29]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-history-of-jazz-dance-in-america/
copy to clipboard
close

Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

    close

    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts

    close

    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.

    close

    Thanks!

    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!

    boy

    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Don't use plagiarized sources. Get your custom essay. Get custom paper
    exit-popup-close

    Haven't found the right essay?

    Get an expert to write you the one you need!

    exit-popup-print

    Professional writers and researchers

    exit-popup-quotes

    Sources and citation are provided

    exit-popup-clock

    3 hour delivery

    exit-popup-persone