The history of jazz dancing is tremendously distinctive in that it has developed through the influence of more than a few other dance styles and techniques. It developed alongside the American jazz music ethnicity and like jazz music, has its roots in African and slave ethnicity. Later, though, it became entangled with tap, Minstrel shows, vaudeville, swing, and Broadway. In result, the movements and styles allied with jazz dancing have been continuously varying over the decades.
On the journey to America, slaves in the 1800s were permitted to dance in order to keep fit. These dances sustained on the plantations in the American South.
In the early 1900s, as black Americans became the precursors of the jazz movement; jazz dancing was very closely associated to tap dancing. In fact, a jazz or tap dancer was conventionally part of a jazz band, and these dance trends soon spread to the audience and the public. The consequence was dances like the Charleston, Jitterbug, Boogie Woogie, and Swing Dance.
Todays jazz styles array from those slinky Broadway-inspired movements, to a more lyrical or balletic style, to comprise even hip-hop based video dance, which takes influence from street dance methods and techniques. Fundamental jazz technique is still based on the mastery of turns, leaps, kicks, and fluid style, but every jazz class and jazz teacher is distinctive. While a few may favor the theatrical end of the spectrum, others may choose for harder and faster movements that combine hip hop moves with conventional jazz steps. On the other hand, jazz dance carry on to be a genre which can differ according to contemporary trends, while upholding strong and consistent foundation.