What is Jazz Ballet?

By Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance (Performing Arts)

Jazz Ballet or Jazz Dance as taught and examined at a dance school or competition today is basically another deviation of classical ballet, although it hasn’t always been this way originally developing from strong African American roots with references to early Caribbean dance.

Today a great jazz dancer requires technique, flexibility, and strength to showcase dynamic movement, fluidity as well as percussive sharpness with their bodies.

Jazz dance is a cornerstone of any multidisciplinary dance school. Once the domain of fan kicks and spirit fingers, as popular culture and music evolve so does jazz dance, with many sub-genres and styles being created from its core. Jazz lessons can differ from teaching classic traditional style to incorporating the latest moves from music videos into a class.

Some movement forms that characterize Jazz dance are moving from a parallel position of the feet, dynamic jumps, isolations of the ribcage, body rolls, high kicks, fan kicks, strong and sharp arms, and head movements, and of course those spirit fingers.

Some popular variations of Jazz Dance that are taught within one or in separate classes are Jazz Ballet, Broadway or Musical Jazz, JFH (Jazz/Funk/Hip hop), lyrical jazz, and burlesque.

This page is just one of hundreds of definitions of the many styles and genres of dance. This library is being continually added to by the writers and contributors of Dance Parent 101!

About the Author

Samantha Bellerose

Samantha is a wife and mother of four kids aged 3-11. She danced and acted from the age of 5 and performed in film clips, on television, and in musical theatre professionally. She also taught dance, but after leaving the profession to backpack through Europe, Canada and the USA with her husband for three years, she then completed an Education Degree and taught within primary schools in Australia. Today she is a business owner with her husband and the creator and writer for Dance Parent 101 where she hopes her previous experience as a dancer, current experience as a dance parent and the research and writing skills she gained completing her education degree will help enlighten parents on their journey with their child through the world of dance.