What is contemporary jazz?

by Shayne min

I started taking dance classes for contemporary jazz. I first started because I saw this show on TV and they dance contemporary dance so nicely. Another girl dances jazz nicely so I started to take classes. I have background in dancing but when I started contem jazz it felt so hard and I looked like a total beginner. Aw man. How demoralizing. But I'll not give up! Just wanna know how long will it take me to look good dancing contem jazz. Not to the extend of a pro but at least presentable? To make people going "wow not bad ! you're good!" :) please advice me. Also if possible, can I know how different are contemporary dance, jazz dance and contemporary jazz? Based on my first few lessons, we have been focusing on a lot of ballet so I wonder what exactly is contem jazz! Thanks in advance!

Comments for What is contemporary jazz?

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Jan 17, 2014
Maria's reply
by: Maria

Dear Shayne Min,

Your first question about how long does it take to become a good dancer has already been asqued in the forum. Please read my answer at the following chat:

How long does it take to learn contemporary dance?

Your question about the difference between contemporary dance, jazz dance and contemporary jazz can not be answered shortly, but I'll try to synthesize the ideas.

First of all, contemporary dance (as a general concept), embraces a lot of different STYLES of contemporary dance which differ greatly one from another.

The same thing happens with jazz dance.

Each teacher offers the dancing STYLE s/he knows, and regardless of the STYLE, they usually name the class using A GENERAL CONCEPT: contemporary, jazz, contemporary jazz (contem jazz) or so. This is why it is confusing and it is difficult to understand 'what is what'.

In much resumed terms, one could say that contemporary dance has recurrent values and jazz dance has its own choreographic vocabulary. But, in order to understand that, you need to study several STYLES of each GENRE. That may lead you to start recognizing their essential features.

I am not a specialist of jazz dance, but I can offer you a lot of information about contemporary dance. You may start with this:

Contemporary dance history

Contemporary dance videos

That is just some content to start with. You can explore our website deeply to know more and more.

Then, make a good research about jazz dance and the different styles that exist (modern jazz, American jazz, lyrical jazz, contemporary jazz, Broadway jazz, street jazz...).

You'll see that contemporary jazz may include features from any of the other STYLES of jazz as well as features from any STYLE of contemporary dance. Again, it depends on the teacher, dancer, choreographer or piece you're talking about.
I hope this helps you as a start.

Warm regards,


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