Jazz dance

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Soloist Jovana Ivanovic at the Jazzdance World Championships 2006 in Boston - Choreography Petra A. Budinger - Theme "The Red Shoes"

Jazz dance is a form of contemporary dance or contemporary society and art dance that originated in the USA .

Originally the musical basis was jazz music ; today the top titles from the pop charts are usually used. Jazz dance developed from the countless dance styles of the multicultural society of the USA. An essential part are African American dance styles (partly due to Angola and the Congo ), which came to America with slaves in the 19th century.


With the emergence of the first forms of jazz music from the first decade of the 20th century, not only the music, but also the dance styles of American cultural and ethnic groups mixed. This gave rise to countless fashion dances such as Cakewalk , Turkey Trot or Charleston , but also, for example, the modern tap dance. All of these dance forms found their way into jazz dance as street, social and entertainment dance ( Vernacular Jazz Dance , today mostly referred to as Authentic Jazz ). Some of the jazz dances have movement patterns that go back to African and early slave dances. But European, Arabic, Indian and Asian movement patterns also found their way into the world. Jazz dance had its first peak around 1940. In the fifties and sixties elements of jazz dance were integrated into ballet and modern dance . From 1960 the resulting modern jazz and modern dance became popular in Europe. It emphasizes the body line, fast, precise footwork and rhythmic body movements. The center of movement is the pelvis. With the renaissance of swing , especially Lindy Hop , the vernacular jazz dance is cultivated and spread again; but mostly without contact with modern jazz dance, which has developed from the roots.

Situation in Germany

In Germany, jazz dance has been known by name since the late 1950s through the courses at the International Summer Academy of Dance in Krefeld and Cologne by lecturers such as Alvin Ailey , Frank Wagner, Walter Nicks, Donald McKayle and Lynn Simonson. From the mid-1970s, jazz dance experienced an enormous rise in Germany. American dancers and choreographers organized workshop tours in dance studios across Germany and inspired a large number of amateurs and professional dancers for this dance form, which is relatively new in Germany. Above all, Alvin McDuffie, Ralph Paul Haze , Gus Giordano , Matt Mattox and Milton Meyers were leading educators in this early period of jazz dance in Germany. Dick O'Swanborn came from Holland and Jessica Iwanson from Sweden , who first made jazz dance known in Munich. The Cologne Summer Academy always invited new teachers and thus had a major impact on the jazz dance scene in Germany in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s; a role that the Tanzwochen Wien would later take on. At the beginning of the 1980s it was above all Charles (also Chuck) Moore from Los Angeles who, like no other, was to influence the German - and later the Swedish - jazz dance scene. At the beginning of the 1990s, Max Stone, Billy Goodson, Phineas Newborn and the Michael Jackson choreographer Vincent Patterson brought a new wave of jazz dance teachers to Germany.


  • Marshall Stearns , Jean Stearns: Jazz Dance - The Story of American Vernacular Dance . 1968, since Capo 1994