Jazz Vs. Hip Hop Dance – What’s the Difference?
Jazz and hip hop have been around for ages. Dance studios everywhere teach both styles of dance – among others – and many of them even teach both together or combine the two. For those who are not heavily involved in the dance scene, it may be confusing to differentiate between these two styles of dance. So the question is, what is the difference between jazz and hip hop?
Breaking it Down
In order to understand the difference between jazz vs. hip hop dance, it’s necessary to break down each type of dance to gain an understanding of how the two dance styles are distinguished from one another. Jazz involves a variety of different styles in and of itself. Jazz involves Broadway jazz, lyrical jazz, and even jazz-funk. Jazz tends to have somewhat of a ballet influence, considering the smooth moves and long lines that jazz dancers must be competent in. You’ll often see ballet-like moves with jazz, such as pirouettes and grandejetes. Posture is generally erect and feet are pointed.
Jazz really can be considered as an umbrella term for many varieties of this dance genre, considering all the influences of different dance styles on this genre. It really is a classic style of dance that is fun and full of energy and class, and what you will most often see on Broadway and other theatrical stages.
It started back in the 1970’s in urban New York City, where street dancers would “break” on street corners, while amazed onlookers would watch. Breaking is one of the earliest forms of this type of dance, which is done with oriented steps with the feet while standing, or with footwork done with both hands and feet on the floor. There are also moves performed just on the hands, as well as spins on the shoulder or head. Breaking often involves a lot of floor work and strength / flexibility.
Hip hop dance is a type of dance style that uses quick movements, and requires quite a bit of athleticism. There are quick movements in all planes involved, creating an almost illusion-like performance. There are a variety of classic dance moves, including bopping, roboting, locking, krumping, popping, turfin, breaking, and jerkin. There are newer variations of house including voguing and house.
Although these two dance styles definitely share some similarities with one another, they are certainly two different styles of dance. It’s inevitable that different dance genres will have somewhat of an influence on other dance styles, but they still remain distinct.
While jazz has been part of mainstream competitive dance training for a long time, hip hop is now becoming more commonly taught in studios. However, it is the most popular current form of dance in music videos, at clubs and schools.
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