Q:

Who invented jazz dance?

A:

There is no singular inventor of jazz dance, but a collection of influential artists, dancers and choreographers who brought about its evolution and introduction into the modern canon as its own form. The influence on the development of jazz comes from African American, Latin and Caribbean cultures.

Although jazz dance was a part of the vernacular form introduced in popular culture coinciding with the development of jazz music, the formal, theatrical style was developed in the 1930s. The dancer and anthropologist Katherine Dunham first introduced new techniques and movements to trained American dancers in 1937. Eventually, notable choreographers began to follow suit and experimented. By the 1950s, jazz dance had emerged as a popular form in theatre and film. Influential choreographers include Agnes de Mille, Bob Fosse, George Balanchine, Hanya Holm and Gus Giordano.


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