IT’S TIME TO CHANGE HOW WE TEACH JAZZ DANCE
You heard it here first.
It’s time to clean up the confusion and redundancy that’s crept into the nation’s dance school curriculums over the last forty years.
We’re all busy and need to make the best possible use of our time. Dancers who are juggling gymnastics, ballet, tap, after-school sports and more need to trim the fat – or risk being over-extended and stressed.
Faberge-Jazz-Fusion is a new way of approaching the study of Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, and Lyrical. Rather than offering them separately, elements of all are included in one combination class.
This new program is the result of my own personal, direct experience, over the course of fifty years as a dancer, performer, and studio owner.
HOW MODERN TURNED INTO CONTEMPORARY
Until about 1980, dance schools like ours taught only Jazz & Lyrical. Meanwhile on the New York City concert stage and on college campuses the dancers were studying “Modern,” (an alternative to the strict code of Ballet, introduced in the late 1800’s). Modern dance developed into specific techniques, such as Horton, Graham, and Cunningham, to name just a few. Each had an exact movement vocabulary. They were considered not appropriate for children, as they often were a vehicle to express adult subject matter and emotions. Visit here for a nice, more complete historical perspective.
Over time attitudes changed. Modern dance teachers from major cities and colleges extended their influence by bringing their programs to local dance studios and introducing younger children to this alternative style of dance. They showcased their work in the talent competitions that began sweeping the nation in the 1980’s.
However…in the transition, Modern dance lost it’s purity. Rather it melded into a variation of Jazz and Lyrical (more suitable to children). We now call this “Contemporary.”
SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Not much! Ironically – and conveniently – everything old is new again. Ballet is once again the foundation. Choice of music and tone of the choreography are often the only real differences between dance genres (Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern). Note…Hip Hop stands alone because it’s techniques are not based in Ballet and use a completely different movement style, much like Modern used to!
So, enter Miss Faberge’s Jazz-Fusion…our class is long (1.5 hours), strong, and varied. Two dance numbers come out of each school-year session, one upbeat traditional jazz…the second more reflective in the style of Lyrical/Modern/Contemporary. A combination class like this can cover all the jazz arts territory needed for a young dancer.
I’m not suggesting a dancer can progress better taking less classes per week. I’m simply stating what any parent knows by instinct – anything we can do to change with the times, for the better – is better!