Jazz a form of dance incorporating multiple styles of dance, and became popular in the early 20th-century.  It was created in America, and developed simultaneously with jazz music in New Orleans.

So You Think You Can Dance All-Star Gaby Diaz
Elements of Jazz:
  • Isolations: a dancer isolates one specific part of his or her body
  • Grounded movement: dancers often bend their knees and keep their center low to the ground
  • Syncopation: accents a beat or note in the music – creates an element of surprise for the audience
  • Contractions: dancers often times make a C-shape with his or her core, influenced by breath
  • Sensuality: jazz dance is often more sensual than other dance styles
  • Sharp movements: jazz incorporates sharp movements that match the music

Similar to other styles besides ballet, jazz dancers are typically free to wear what they want to class or rehearsal.  However, attire is sometimes determined by the dance school or studio they attend and their requirements.  Many jazz dancers today wear sports bras, tank tops, leggings, spandex shorts, or briefs to class.  There are also pants called “jazz pants” that are similar to leggings, but they flare out at the ankles.  They can wear their hair in a bun, but dancers typically wear it in a ponytail or down in a hairstyle that’s more loose.  Male dancers usually wear shorts or pants, and a t-shirt or tank top.  Jazz dancers typically wear jazz shoes – leather shoes with a very short heel – that come in black or nude color.  Sometimes females wear heels to dance in for jazz.

Jazz shoes.

Jazz costumes are much more flashy than other styles.  Costumes can be filled with vibrant colors or patterns or adorned with feathers, ruffles, or rhinestones.

Competition jazz costume.

Jazz dance originally was formed with jazz music, and the two were a pair.  Today, jazz dance has evolved and is now danced to pop songs.  Traditional jazz music is still used though, and either way jazz dance uses upbeat music.  Here is a jazz routine titled Le Jazz Hot performed by West Coast School of the Arts.