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He evolved jazz “theatre dance” with choreography and director credits in productions or movies such as Some Like it Hot, Man of La Mancha, There’s No Business Like Show Business, Gilda, Kismet and The Merry Widow
He merged the modern dance motivation for movement with popular jazz dance steps to make a more technical and artistic jazz dance. He also took from his modern dance training, the idea of being "low to the ground". He incorporated a very low plie into much of the movement he developed. This redefined his style, which turned into a bonafide technique. This gave jazz movement a sense of power and gravity. Jack was also extremely interested in the aspect of isolation and syncopation, all which are a huge part of jazz today.
The Charleston dance became popular after appearing along with the song, "The Charleston," by James P. Johnson in the Broadway musical Runnin' Wild in 1923.
Although the origins of the dance are obscure, the dance has been traced back to blacks who lived on an island off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina (which is why the dance is called "Charleston"). The Charleston dance had been performed in black communities since 1903, but did not become internationally popular until the musical debuted in 1923.
The music for the Charleston is ragtime jazz, in quick 4/4 time with syncopated rhythms.
The dance uses both swaying arms and the fast movement of the feet. To begin the dance, one first moves the right foot back one step and then kicks backwards with the left foot while the right arm moves forward. Then both feet and arms are replaced to the start position and the right foot kicks forwards while the right arm moves backwards. This is done with a little hop in between steps. * CLICK THE PICTURE
The Black Bottom (aka Swanee Bottom) was originally from New Orleans, later worked its way to Georgia and finally New York.
The Black bottom was basically a solo challenge dance. Predominately danced on the "Off Beat" and was the prototype for the modern Tap dance phrasing. The Dance featured the slapping of the backside while hopping forward and backward, stamping the feet and gyrations of the torso and pelvis/Hips like the Grind, while occasionally making arm movements to music with an occasional 'Heel-Toe Scoop' which was very erotic in those days. The dance eventually got refined and entered the ballroom with ballroom couples doing the dance.
The dance is said to be a copy of a bossy cow's hind legs mirred in mud (12-14-1926 - Danville Bee Newspaper) other newspapers state that Mrs. Esther Gagnet from Texas states that the dance came from Sumaria (2/18/1927 Lancaster Daily Eagle Newspaper) and other newspapers say it is of the Mississippi Negroe trying to dance in the sticky mud (2/12/1927 - Davenport Democrat and Leader).
The Cakewalk had its origins in slavery. Peering through the windows at the spectacles hosted by white planters, enslaved blacks would then prance and preen in imitation of whites at their own dances, using exaggerated movements, curtsys and bows to and adopting “high-toned” clothing to mock. In performance, couples would line up to form an aisle, down which each pair would take a turn at a high-stepping promenade through the others. The irony was extended when white planters began to host and judge Cakewalk competitions, awarding a cake of some kind to the winning couple.
The meaning of the dance was lost on white minstrel performers, who added the exaggerated, over-the-top dance to their repertoire to portray the bumbling attempts of poor blacks to mimic the manners of whites. No longer was the Cakewalk a dance of satire; minstrels and their audience genuinely thought it signified blacks wanting to be like whites. By the turn of the century, the Cakewalk was used by both black and white minstrel performers far from its original intentions, and when the musical comedy gained prominence in theatre, the Cakewalk was transferred from the circuit theatre to Broadway.
In 1937, Katherine Dunham, a former student of ballet and modern dance, formed the Negro Dance Group after returning from academic study in the Caribbean. The group incorporated African and Caribbean dance movements with more traditional dance forms. Dunham's fusion of modern, ballet and ethnic dance is an important component of modern jazz dance.
In the 1950s and 60s, New York City Ballet associate artistic director, Jerome Robbins was a hugely influential and successful theatrical jazz dance choreographer as well as a ballet choreographer. Dance historians credit Robbins with the refinement of the jazz gesture--and the melding of ballet and jazz for a more lyrical and dramatic form of jazz dance. In addition to his ballets for NYCB, Robbins choreographed Broadway musicals like "West Side Story," "The King and I" and "Fiddler on the Roof."
Influenced heavily by choreographers Jack Cole and Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse expanded on the use of the isolation and gesture--sometimes moving only a finger or a hip as part of his choreography. Fosse's physical limitations--turned in knees and hunched shoulders--became part of his dance vocabulary. Bowler hats, canes and chairs became standard props in jazz dance thanks to Fosse. Fosse's original production of the musical "Chicago" opened in 1975. A new production, with his choreography, opened in 1996 and, as of 2010, is still running.