The student will have a clear understanding of the development of jazz dance as an American art form.
Identify the major works of historically significant jazz dance choreographers.
Compare and contrast the works of these choreographers using proper dance vocabulary.
Definition and Origin Definition of Jazz Dance A stylized form of theatrical dancing conceived in America, given birth by the established and varied techniques of dance (folk and classical) brought to us by our ancestors from every corner of the world, and influenced by the musical styles of each succeeding decade. Jazz is a blend of African dance, European classical dance and American Modern dance.
Katherine Dunham Katherine Dunham: combined Afro-Carribean styles with modern and ballet idioms. She was very influential on the development of jazz dance in America. She researched folk forms from her birth place of Haiti and theatricalized them. Appeared in 1940 dancing in Le Jazz Hot 1943: Her dancers appeared in the film, Stormy Weather
Pearl Primus Pearl Primus: incorporated more African dance traditions into her movement. During the 1940’s she performed mixed elements of dance including: African, Carribean, African American rhythms to her choreography. Concert Dance Performer
AGNES DE MILLE Agnes De Mille: originally came from a ballet background but stepped out of those roots to ad emotional connections to the story line and express the writers ideas solely through movement. It was her choreography that spawned the use of jazz, folk, ethnic, ballroom, classical ballet combinations to create what we know as jazz. Shows choreographed include: Oklahoma: 1943 Carousel: 1945 Brigadoon: 1947
Gene Kelly Gene Kelly: was actually a teacher in Pittsburg at the Gene Kelly school of dance. Went off to Broadway and much success. He later went on to choreograph, dance, act and star in feature films. His style was acrobatic, airy and comical. Musicals choreographed include: Anchors Aweigh: 1945 Zeigfeld Follies: 1946 American in Paris: 1951 Singin in the Rain: 1952
Jerome Robbins Jerome Robbins: his choreography was graceful and elegant but added comic elements. He is sometimes noted as the true father of jazz dance and he required his dancers to act as well as move. This took dance direction of a musical to a new level. His works include: Wonderful Town: 1953 Fiddler on the Roof: 1964 West Side Story: 1957
Bob Fosse Bob Fosse: sexy, provocative and on the cutting edge. Was a performer and trained dancer in musicals before he went onto direction and choreography. Used isolations heavily in his style. Basically took what Robbins did and pushed the boundaries. Damn Yankees: 1955 Sweet Charity: 1969 Cabaret: 1972 Chicago: 1975