Styles of Dance

Jazz

Jazz dance originated in the United States in the early 20th century. During the jazz era, popular forms of jazz dance included the Cakewalk, Black Bottom, Charleston, Jitterbug, and the Boogie Woogie.

 

Jazz today is a form of dance commonly used in Broadway shows and movies. Modern and commercial jazz styles have been popularised across the world as well as by television programmes such as So You Think You Can Dance. A more contemporary dance style than ballet, it is now an essential part of musical theatre choreography and serves as a base which is easily flavoured by and interwoven with other dance styles.

 

Its performance style is popularised by Bob Fosse’s works, including Chicago, Cabaret, Damn Yankees, and The Pajama Game. Other notable jazz dancers and choreographers of the past and present include Jack Cole, Katherine Dunham, Eugene Louis Faccuito, Gus Giordano, Mia Michaels, Sonya Tayeh, Mandy Moore, Brian Friedman and many others.

Tap

Tap dance was born in the United States during the nineteenth century, and today is popular all around the world. The name comes from the tapping sound made when the small metal plates on the dancer's shoes touch a hard floor. This lively, rhythmic tapping makes the performer not just a dancer, but also a percussive musician.

 

Some well-known tap performers include Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, The Nicholas Brothers, and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and shows such as Tap Dogs and Hot Shoe Shuffle have been enjoyed by audiences around the world. National Tap Dance Day in the United States is celebrated on May 25th, and tap dance continues to be popular across film and social media thanks to works like Happy Feet, Syncopated Ladies, and Postmodern Jukebox. 

Classical Ballet

The art of Classical Ballet can be traced back to the early 17th century, when dancers performed to entertain audiences between scenes of especially lengthy operas in Italy and Russia. It has since become a widespread, highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary based on French terminology. It has been globally influential and has defined the foundational techniques used in many other dance genres and cultures. Classical ballet has gone on to influence other styles of dance including romantic ballet, modern ballet, and contemporary ballet, and the techniques found in classical ballet are a framework for many other styles of dance, including hip hop.

 

The typical ballet class attire includes pink, black, or flesh coloured tights and a leotard with an optional short wrap-skirt or tutu. The dancer wears soft technique shoes, often called flats through their classes. Once a dancers’ bones mature with age, and the tendons in the ankles and feet become relatively strong through intensive training, they may also wear pointe shoes (also called toe shoes), and divide their ballet class time between the different shoes.

Contemporary

Contemporary dance is the name given to a group of 20th century concert dance forms. Rather than a specific dance technique, contemporary is a collection of systems and methods developed from Modern and Postmodern dance. It employs classical ballet technique, but allows greater range of movement of the upper body and is not constrained to the more rigorously defined body lines and forms found in traditional, classical ballet. Contemporary dance helps performers develop creative & expressive movement styles, & enhances bodily awareness.

 

Notable artists in the field of contemporary dance include George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Martha Graham, Trisha Brown, David Gordon, Lucinda Childs, Yvonne Rainer and Deborah Hay.

Theatrical

Theatrical dance consists of a mixture of limbering, musical comedy, tap, modern dance and singing. These elements come together in theatre, film and television to create spectacles of dance to delight audiences of all ages.

 

With influences from various genres of dance, musicality and performance, theatrical dance is easily translated to a global audience with its vibrant expression, multi-dicsciplinary techniques, and fun attitude.

Hip Hop / Funk

Hip hop dance comprises of many sub-styles, both street and commercial in nature, with influences from all around the world. Popularised by film, television, music video clips and the internet, hip hop involves modern and up-to-date techniques with high-energy movements that make the style both fun to watch and perform.

 

Vibrant, fun and challenging, this style has grown increasingly popular in recent years, with styles such as breaking, krumping, funk, pop and locking, and urban featuring in dance competitions, theatrical productions, and media globally. Notable hip-hop productions include films Honey, Save the Last Dance, You Got Served, and the Step Up film series, and dance crews Jabbawockeez, Quest, Beat Freaks, Brotherhood, and many more.

© 2019 by AATBD Inc. Reg. No. A0025667E. Created by Madeleine Charisis.