Ballet is a dance form that demands precision, grace and strength. It employs formalized steps
set in intricate flowing patterns to create beautiful expression through movement. Originally a
concert dance form originating in Italy and later developed in France and Russia. The word ballet comes from
the French and was borrowed into English around 1630. The French word in turn has its origin in Italian
balletto, a diminutive of ballo (dance) which comes from Latin ballo, ballare, meaning "to dance", which in turn
comes from the Greek (ballizo), "to dance, to jump about".
Influenced by the rhythmic sounds of jazz music, Jazz dancing is exciting with beautiful
movement and expressive positions. This dance form has it's early history alongside jazz music in
New Orleans in the early 1900's. Throughout its history, jazz dance has developed in parallel to popular music.
This pattern of development has resulted in a few elements of movement key to the dance style, the most
important being that jazz is they physical embodiment of the popular music of a given time. An example of this
is that during a down time of jazz dancing from 1945-1954, when big bands and dance halls were declining,
the vernacular of the dance followed less jazz music and leaned more toward rock and roll.
The art of dancing on the tips of one's toes while performing ballet. En pointe (pointe) means "on
the tip" and is a part of classical ballet technique, usually practised using specially reinforced
shoes called pointe shoes or toe shoes. The technique developed from the desire for dancers to appear
weightless and sylph-like and has evolved to enable dancers to dance on the tips of their toes for extended
periods of time. Because of it’s physical demands on feet and legs, students are required to be a certain age
and start with “Pre-pointe” prior to taking Pointe.
The style of dance performed to Hip Hop music with much freedom for improvisation and personal
creativity. It includes a wide range of styles notably breaking, locking, and popping which were
created in the 1970s and made popular by dance crews in the United States. The television show Soul Train
and the 1980s films Breakin', Beat Street, and Wild Style showcased these crews and dance styles in their
early stages; therefore, giving hip-hop mainstream exposure. What distinguishes hip-hop dance from other
forms of dance is that it is often freestyle (improvisational) in nature and hip-hop dance crews often engage in
freestyle dance competitions.
A style of dance in which rhythmic sounds are created by the clicking on the heels and toes of
the dancer's shoes. Therefore sometimes considered a form of music. Tap dance has roots in
African American dancing such as the Juba Dance, English Lancashire Clog dancing, and probably most
notably Irish stepdancing. It is believed to have begun in the mid-1800s during the rise of minstrel shows. Two
major variations on tap dance exist: rhythm (Jazz) tap and Broadway tap. Broadway tap focuses more on the
dance. It is widely performed as a part of musical theater.
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