Jazz Dance

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Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to do some serious jazz hands. Jazz may have enjoyed a boom in popularity during the 1920s, but jazz dance is still providing a fun, foot-shuffling workout across the globe today.

How does it work?

Jazz dancing can be energetic and enjoyable with a variety of moves, steps, leaps and quick turns. For those wanting to be top of the class, you will need a strong background in ballet as it encourages grace and balance.

Most jazz classes are casual and relaxed, but baggy clothing is generally discouraged as a dancer’s body lines need to be visible. Stick with tights with a leotard (for a ballerina-esque feel) or a vest top and some boot cut jogging bottoms. Check with the instructor or venue in regards to shoes, as some classes may have preferences

A typical jazz dance class will cover a wide range of music styles, from show tunes to hip hop. First on the agenda is a thorough warm up, accompanied by stretching exercises and isolation moves. Isolations are when you move one part of the body while the rest of your body stays still. Some also include the art of suspension – where you move through positions instead of stopping and balancing in them.

A cool down will usually end the session to prevent muscle soreness and insure you don’t feel too achy the next day!

In a jazz class, dancers are encouraged to add their own personality to routines to make steps unique and fun, so get fancy with your footwork and give it a go!

Is it for me?

If you think your co-ordination is up to scratch and you pride yourself on your sense of rhythm, then why not give jazz dancing a try. Due to the fast movements, heart pumping pace and jumping involved, pregnant women and those with long term joint injuries would be better off sitting this one out.

Good to know

Jazz dance originates from America and emerged in the early 1900’s as African and European settlers began to mix their dance traditions.