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History of Jazz Dance Jazz dance is a form of personal expression created and sustained though improvisationit has certain defining characteristics including improvisation isolation a centrifugal explosion of energy that radiates outward from the hips and a propulsive rhythm that gives a swinging quality to the movement -Bob Boross Jazz is a crossbreed of north American cultures a music and dance of the slaves of Africa and old European Jigs and lits Minstrel shows and presumably Jazz music Jazz is part of the genuine folk culture of North America and the only such national tradition Today any professional dancer male or female can not make it without a Jazz background The first Jazz dancer to dance to Jazz Music was said to be Frisco who spotted Al Jolson and started mimicking him at the Lambs Cafe in Chicago Marshall and Jean Stearns in their book Jazz Dance - The Story of American Vernacular Dance state that jazz dance is a blend of African and European traditions in an American environment They feel that European movement contributed an elegance and that African movement gave a rhythmic style Lynne Fauley Emery also notes the importance of rhythm in African music and dance by using the metaphor of a drumbeat for the heartbeat of Africa It would seem that although European movement has given a shape to jazz dance African rhythmic propulsion is the factor that has given jazz dance its character and appeal Jazz dance is the embodiment of the American culture in that it blends many different cultures lifestyles and techniques into one harmonious art form To trace the history of jazz dancing in America it is therefore necessary to begin in Africa Jean Sabatine in her book Techniques and Styles of Jazz
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