Jazz dance is an American art form, much like its companion, jazz music.
Jazz dance is a classification including a broad range of dance styles. Before the 1950s, jazz dance referred to dance styles that originated from African American vernacular dance. Vernacular dances are dances which have developed ‘naturally’ as a part of ‘everyday’ culture within a particular community. In contrast to the elite and official culture, vernacular dances are usually learned naturally without formal instruction.
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In the 1950s, a new genre of jazz dance— modern jazz dance—emerged, with roots in Caribbean traditional dance. Every individual style of jazz dance has roots traceable to one of these two distinct origins. Jazz dance often referred to tap dance because tap dancing, set to jazz music, was one of the predominant dances of the era. Jazz dance evolved over time to spawn a diverse range of social and concert dance styles. During the later Jazz Age, popular forms of jazz dance included the Black Bottom, Charleston, Jitterbug, Boogie Woogie, swing and the related Lindy Hop.