Contact Instructor: Sarah Dunaway at Sdunaway@hawaii.edu or 808-315-1814 for questions/details
Jazz dance is shared by a large range of dance styles. Before the 1950s, jazz dance related to dance styles that originated from African American vernacular dance. Jazz dance was an integral part of jazz until the end of the swing era in the late 1940s. In the 1950s, a new genre of jazz dance — modern jazz dance — emerged, with roots in Caribbean traditional dance. Every individual style of jazz dance has roots traceable to one of these two distinct origins. Jazz was a big hit in the early 1950s and it is still a well-loved style of dance all over the world. Improvisation was an important element in early forms of jazz dance, as it is an important element of jazz music. A few notable Jazz dance choreographers and dancers include: Michael Bennett, Bob Fosse, Jack Cole, Jerome Robbins, Katherine Dunham, Eugene Louis Facciuto and Jerome Robbins.
Lyrical Jazz dance is a style of dance created from the fusion of ballet with jazz and contemporary dance techniques and is a “cousin” to those styles. Lyrical dancing is performed to music with lyrics to inspire movements to express strong emotions the choreographer feels from the lyrics in the chosen song. Because lyrical dancing focuses on the expression of strong emotion, the style concentrates more on individual approach and expressiveness than the precision of the dancer’s movements. The emergent lyrical style has a relatively recent history and a genesis based on the coming together of ballet with rock/folk/pop/alternative music and a variety of jazz dance styles and modern dance.