How to Jazz Dance

  1. 1 Study jazz terminology so you’ll know how to perform the steps. If you’re teaching yourself to dance, you’ll need to know the terms so you can follow along as you read about jazz technique. If you’re planning to sign up for a dance class, studying the terminology will help you understand what your dance instructor wants you to do.
  2. 2 Stand on one leg and move the other foot away to perform a brush. In a brush, your foot will lightly skim the floor as you move your leg. Usually, your leg stays straight as you perform this movement.[2]
  3. 3 Draw in your torso to perform a contraction. Imagine that you are bringing your belly button in towards your spine. Make the movement seem more exaggerated by pushing your shoulders and knees forward as you execute the contraction.[3]
  4. 4 Stand with your heels together and bend your knees to plié. Your legs should be turned out at the hips so that your knees are bent over your toes. As you bend your knees, keep your spine as straight as possible to lengthen your torso.[4]
  5. 5 Stand on the balls of your feet with your knees bent for a forced arch. A forced arch involves raising your heels off the floor while bending your knees. This can also be called a demi-plié with the heels up.[5]
  6. 6 Quickly shift your weight from one foot to the other for a ball change. Start by standing with one foot in front of the other, with your weight slightly shifted towards the front. Shift your weight to your back foot, then quickly return to the front foot.[6]
    • This can be done while you’re standing still or while you are travelling.
  7. 7 Step out, bring your feet together, and step again to chassé. The step-together-step is a popular move in a number of dance styles, and it’s used commonly in jazz dancing.[7]
  8. 8 Move your leg in a sweeping arc in front of you to fan kick. Fan kicks make a dramatic impact on the audience, so they’re a popular move in high-energy jazz dances.[8]
  9. 9 Turn out your feet and alternate your shoulder movements to jazz walk. When you move one foot forward, the opposing shoulder should be brought forward. Then, step again and bring the other shoulder forward at the same time.[9]
    • You can add your own take to these movements for fun variations on a jazz walk, like adding in hip rolls or finger snaps.
  10. 10 Mambo by swiveling your hips as you move front to back and back to front. The mambo is extremely influential on jazz dancing. Incorporate this ethnic style by moving your hips in a figure-8 style as you move in a front-to-back motion and then return to your starting point.[10]
  1. 1
  2. 2 Turn towards your standing leg to perform an inside turn. Your standing leg is the leg that is supporting most of your weight. As such, it…
Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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Sasha Harriet

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