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Jazz DanceA History of the Roots and Branches$
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Lindsay Guarino and Wendy Oliver

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049298

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049298.001.0001

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Jazz Dance as a Continuum

Jazz Dance as a Continuum

(p.3) 1 Jazz Dance as a Continuum
Jazz Dance

Patricia Cohen

University Press of Florida

There are a multitude of jazz dance labels and descriptions. Acknowledging the entirety of the genre allows us to establish historical, cultural, social, and kinetic continuity, also called a continuum. When the primary cultural sources of jazz dance remain unacknowledged, the continuum is disrupted. However, once we recognize the relationships between traditional African cultural dances and African-American vernacular dance, as well as the influence on American social, popular, and theatrical dance, the continuum is established. Whether via appropriation or blending, jazz dance evolved through the first half of the 20th century to include elements of both Africanist and European dance. When we accept the concept of jazz dance as a continuum based in West African roots with diverging vernacular and theatrical branches, each of which is continually creating new offshoots that gradually but inevitably generate newer blended jazz dance forms, we may also accept a broader definition of jazz dance.

Keywords:   African-American vernacular dance, Appropriation, Jazz continuum, West African roots

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