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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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The Transmission of AfricanAmerican Concert Dance and American Jazz Dance

The Transmission of AfricanAmerican Concert Dance and American Jazz Dance

(p.164) 22 The Transmission of AfricanAmerican Concert Dance and American Jazz Dance
Jazz Dance

Gill Wright Miller

University Press of Florida

What connects African-American concert dance and jazz dance? On the one hand, both forms derive from the same root: African vernacular dance. It is easy to identify elements of African aesthetics in both genres. John Perpener contends that African-American concert dance was created to “effect socio-political change for African-American people, bring together aesthetic and cultural elements that had, previously, been posed as polar opposites, forge a positive identity for black people in the midst of a hostile environment, express a contemporary ethos, and create work that was multi-vocal, articulating simultaneously different worldviews.” Jazz dance, on the other hand, has usually been seen as a form of entertainment. Pearl Primus, Talley Beatty, Alvin Ailey, Chuck Davis, Diane McIntyre, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar are African-American concert dance artists who are discussed within the chapter.

Keywords:   African aesthetic, African-American concert dance, Alvin Ailey, Jazz dance, Pearl Primus, Talley Beatty, Vernacular dance

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