History Of Jazz Dance Essay

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• Until the middle of the 1950’s “Jazz dance” was more commonly referred to as tap dance due to tap being performed to jazz music.
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• Jazz music can be traced back to the times of slavery. In America slaves were not allowed to speak their native language and were forbidden to use their drums. Music became a means of survival.
• Slave work songs were created, to pass time, in the form of “call and response”. A song leader would call out a line and the rest of the workers would respond to this.
• Slaves also sung soulful songs called “spirituals”. These expressed their strong religious beliefs.
• This early music created by slaves had all the characteristics of jazz. It was just a short step from the most rhythmic spirituals and work songs
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The blues were then popularised by female singers like Marline Johnson and Bessie Smith.
• Young Americans began to embrace this new style by listening and dancing to it.
• For the first time radios and record players were widely available in stores. **
• Throughout its history jazz dance has developed in parallel to jazz music. **
• Jazz music was part of the popular minstrel shows and vaudeville shows, both of which introduced the music to wider audiences.
• Scott Joplin bought jazz into homes all over the country, and the Ragtime craze was on. It really caught on in New Orleans allowing Jazz to flourish due to its less rigid social backgrounds. New Orleans became the first true jazz centre.
• This encouraged the popularity and growth of jazz music.
• Jazz went from only playing in New Orleans to becoming a staple of the America airwaves, dance halls and homes”

• The 1930’s brought a new style of jazz “big band swing”. These musical ensembles associated with the swing era. They generally consisted of 12 to 25 musicians.
• Swing has a rhythmic feeling of a combination of tension and relaxation. The free and loose feeling became the major feature of swing, it is usually performed by double bass and drums and is played at a fairly quick

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