A BRIEF HISTORY OF JAZZ & BALLET
Starting from the 1920s, the term “jazz ballet” has been used to refer to a constantly developing form of artistic dance movement.
Basically, it is a combination of African and European traditions in an American environment. African movement gave the dance rhythmic propulsion, while European movement gave it elegance. Although European movement has given shape to jazz ballet, it seems that the African rhythms are the factors that gave this type of dance a character and appeal.
When referring to a type of performance, a jazz ballet is a form of ballet routine that integrates jazz moves and is sometimes performed to jazz music or other contemporary styles of music.
This fusion of dance styles has been adopted by many dance companies throughout the world. Even if this is so much different from the traditional ballet performance, jazz ballet entails the same amount of discipline, musicality, and technique.
There are some dance schools or academies which offer classes that mix ballet and dance. Normally, these classes are for young children who might not yet have the discipline to undergo a full ballet class. In order to make the class less formal and more fun for these children, the class will also include basic jazz dance moves performed to contemporary music.
A Brief History of Modern Ballet
Modern ballet refers to a dance genre that makes use of classical ballet and modern dance elements. It is also known as contemporary ballet and commonly deals with controversial matters that do not always tell a story, unlike classical ballet that always does.
This type of ballet began in the United States during the late 1800s, and was developed as a response to classical ballet. One of the primary reasons why ballet had shifted from classical to modern was the desire to express diverse ideas.
Sometimes, dancers of contemporary ballet dance en pointe, while at other times, they prefer to wear soft ballet slippers.
This was very different from the norm in classical ballet, wherein ballerinas were viewed exclusively as being en pointe. Additionally, modern ballet dancers have more freedom in terms of their movements, unlike classical ballet dancers who always have to make sure that their shoulders and hips were aligned.
George Balanchine was considered by many as the pioneer of contemporary ballet and is even called the Father of American Ballet. He was born in Russia and studied there, where he became a graduate of the Imperial Ballet School.
A rich patron of the arts named Lincoln Kirstein, invited Balanchine to the US to become a choreographer. In 1913, he founded the School of American Ballet. Another significant contribution of Balanchine is his creation of neoclassical ballet, which lies between the classical ballet and contemporary ballet.
In addition, he also founded the New York City Ballet, which gave him the chance to work with modern choreographers and further expand his ideas and concepts. After many years of experimentation in combining modern techniques and ballet, modern ballet was finally born.
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