Jazz & Contemporary
For ages 6+
Awakening mind, body & spirit through Jazz & Contemporary Dance
A truly American-based artform, Jazz dance encompasses a broad range of dance styles - including the Charleston, Jitterbug, Swing, and Broadway-style. It is a genre that is ever-evolving and awakens the mind, body, and spirit. Our Contemporary Jazz classes are influenced by Acro, Ballet, Modern, Lyrical, and Hip Hop, and it is recommended that all students have a sound working knowledge of Ballet and Modern technique.
Jazz technique classes are rooted in classical Jazz movement, including isolations, use of the upper body, transitional steps, textures and dynamics of movement, exercises across the floor, and center combinations. Movement is generally upbeat and fast-paced (appropriate to age and level) with a strong focus on performance quality and showmanship.
For Dancers in the Intermediate and Senior Levels, technique classes fuse principles from Ballet, Jazz, and Modern with influences from other dance styles. Class consists of exercises focused on the articulation of the body, including alignment, quality of movement, and space consumption while employing elements of traditional technique and positions. Improvisation and exploration of personal movement are used to warm up the body and push each student's creativity and comfort with individual movement. Instructor approval is needed for this class.
We often get inquiries about Lyrical and Contemporary classes for younger dancers. First, it's important to understand what these two terms mean and how that translates to the training of a young dancer.
"Lyrical" dancing is a branch of Jazz. The term is coined by the expressive, oftentimes emotional movement that is traditionally linked directly to the lyrics of a song. Stylistically, Lyrical dancing can best be described as a combination of Jazz and Ballet techniques. In order for a dancer to actually execute Lyrical movement, they need a solid understanding of both Jazz and Ballet techniques. As Academy students train in Jazz, Lyrical movement and combinations are introduced over time in gradual stages. This method of introduction helps ensure our dancers are fully ready and capable of handling the movement concepts, and often more mature themes, associated with Lyrical dance. As our dancers continue through the program, Lyrical becomes an ever-present style in their training and repertoire.
Contemporary dance is a general term used to describe any combination of movement and ideologies that cannot be classified under the standard disciplines of Ballet, Jazz, and Modern. Contemporary dance at its root, and in the professional concert dance world, is mostly based in Modern and Ballet techniques; however, professional Contemporary dance can draw from any number of dance styles to create unique and new movements. Contemporary has been known to incorporate styling, steps, and concepts from Hip Hop, folkloric, world dance styles, Jazz, theatre, visual art, capoeira, martial arts, and the list goes on. Here at the Academy the majority of the Contemporary work studied and performed by our advanced students is based in Modern, Ballet, and Jazz. These classes are not offered to dancers until they have gained knowledge and experience in all three of those disciplines.