The categories of Jazz Dance are: solo male, solo female, duo, small group, formation.
Age Divisions see in General Provisions of Performing Arts.
Jazz Dance Styles:
This dance form stemmed from early African Folk Dances that were done by slaves brought to America from Africa, West Indies, Cuba, Panama, and Haiti.
Originated via the music of the late 1800‟s and early 1900‟s. Dances included the Two-Step or Cakewalk, and later became the Grizzly Bear, Bunny Hug, Turkey Trot, and Texas Tommy. This evolved into the fast music and dances of the 1920‟s, the One-Step, Lindy Hop, Charleston, and Black Bottom. Musical Comedy / Theatre Jazz: These forms of Jazz became very popular via movies/theatre during the 1930s and 1940s. Many dance forms were incorporated in Musical Comedy Jazz. Ballet with “On Your Toes”, and Modern Dance in “Oklahoma” and “Brigadoon”. During the 1950s and 1960s, dance became an integral part of telling the story in Musical Theatre, as illustrated in musicals such as “Flower Drum Song”, “Destry Rides Again”, “West Side Story” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. In 1978, the musical “Dancing” showed that the songs and books were secondary to the dancing; in fact, they are almost non-existent.
Primarily performed to the music of the day, it began in the late 1950s to the music of Contemporary Jazz musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Art Tatum, and Dave Brubeck.
Today’s Jazz Dance: This discipline may be danced using many different styles and tempos, using themes based on Afro-Cuban, Oriental, Spanish or other national themes. It may be performed as a character, such as Cowboy, Sailor, Clown, etc. It may also be abstract in nature. Lyrical Jazz performed to such music as Bette Midler‟s “Wind Beneath My Wings”, may be included in Jazz Dance Discipline, as well as Modern Dance.
Contemporary Ballet should not be confused with Jazz Dance, and may not compete in this discipline. Other contemporary styles such as Hip-Hop, Disco, Break Dance and Electric Boogie may be incorporated, but must never control/dominate Jazz Dance performances.
1. Characteristics and Movement: Jazz Dance is a multi-faceted art form. The above-mentioned types of Jazz Dance are examples of what is permissible in this category.
2. The entire routine must consist of Jazz work. Jazz technique, turns, jumps isolations, stretch, as well as the use of port de bras, legs, and upper body. Timing and rhythm will be considered in marking. Suitable footwear must be worn.
3. Acrobatic Movements: In Jazz Dance limited acrobatics will be allowed as long as a body part is touching the floor, and does not dominate the routine.
4. Lifts: Permitted as outlined under General Provisions in Adult and Junior divisions.
NOTE: Lifts are NOT permitted in the Children‟s age divisions.
5. Stage Props: Hand, stage and floor props will be allowed under the following conditions:
All costume accessories, such as hats, scarves, gloves, belts, etc., may be worn if they are an integral part of the costume. They may be taken off, exchanged or discarded, but not left to litter the stage. Meaning, the dancer cannot leave the stage at the end of the routine leaving clothing behind. If a dancer discards or drops a scarf on the state, they must pick it up and take it off when they leave.
Hand Props: All hand props such as canes, umbrellas, handbags, briefcases, mirrors, flags, etc., may be used as long as they are an integral part and used throughout the routine. They may be set down on the floor as long as it remains part of the routine and picked up when leaving the stage at the end of the routine. Hand props can never be used as floor props. In other words, you cannot enter the stage with an umbrella, set it on the floor, dance your entire routine without utilizing the umbrella and then pick it up at the end of the routine and leave the stage.
Floor Props: Necessary floor props such as a chair, stool, box, ladder, etc., may be carried on by a dancer in one trip, but must be an integral part of the routine and utilized throughout the entire performance. Items used to decorate or embellish the stage are not permitted. The dancer must carry the floor prop off the state at the end of the routine.
Scenic or stage props: Any items such as a scenic background, backdrop, tree or other such props, used to create a scene or embellish the stage are not permitted.
6. Lip-sync is not allowed in Jazz Dance.
Show Dance VS Jazz
The difference between Show Dance and Jazz is very difficult, but not impossible, to define. Jazz Dance styles range from the early 1920s to the present, and most Jazz Dance pieces are created using pure dance without consideration to theme or story. This is an ever-evolving Performing Art dance, and one could very readily argue the point that all of the Street dances contain some elements of Jazz.
How do we draw the line between Jazz and Street Dance?
Definitely the music. The music dictates the style.
Does that mean that Hip-Hop or Break Dance music cannot be used in a Jazz piece?
No, because the style of the dance dictates what discipline it actually is. Therefore, a Jazz Dance piece can be done to Hip-Hop, Break Dance or Electric Boogie music, but never a Hip-Hop, Break Dance or Electric Boogie to Jazz music. Since there is no specific style of music identifiable as Jazz Dance or Show Dance, music cannot be used to determine if the discipline is correct.
However: the difference in styles can be used to make this determination. Although Show Dance pieces may be based on a theme or story, there are many variables that exist. A Show Dance piece can be based on emotions, color, and design, or even one word, such as „devastation‟ or „jubilation.‟ Jazz Dance does not have to convey any of the above criteria and may be done based on pure dance only. For instance, a piece danced to „Bolero‟ might be based on movement formation, color, and costume. Another piece danced to the same or different music might be built on a theme of floating dancers, be enhanced by costume design and originality, and feature terrific use of the music.'
Would a piece danced to „Bolero‟ do well in a Jazz Dance competition?
The answer to that would be in the eyes of the beholder, but a strong Jazz Dance piece would certainly give such a piece a run for its money if the former was not based on true Jazz technique. Lyric or Modern maybe the base technique for either Show Dance or Jazz Dance. It all depends on how much of a „show‟ the piece really is. A straight lyric piece, performed in a Show Dance division to Whitney Houston, without a theme or storyline, would not do very well, because the show value of the 4-D system would receive a low mark.
When judging an IDO competition where the 3-D system of separate evaluations is used for technique, composition and image, the show quality of the routine may enter into all three of these separate dimensions.
The ability to use the technique to enhance the theme or story being told is very important. The choreography and the way the dancer performs it must be of show quality, and the image that the dancer creates is also very important to the show value of a given piece. But judges should not be influenced by the show value of a Jazz Dance routine.
Their marks for technique should be based purely on technique, choreography purely on choreography, and image marks should be based on the total look of the performer.