The jazz dance program at Blackbird Academy of Arts is designed to give students a general introduction to a variety of jazz styles while also instilling a strong base of jazz technique. Emphasis at all levels is placed on rhythm, confidence of movement, and an understanding of the progression of jazz dance.
As students move forward in their training, the difficulty of skills will increase, as will the pace of the class. Students will gain an increasing ability to pick up choreography and combinations quickly, and to shift easily from one style to another.
Because a ballet foundation is integral to the proper execution of jazz technique, we require all students enrolled in jazz to also be enrolled in a ballet class.* Our jazz class syllabi work side by side with our ballet syllabi to insure that all students are working at an appropriate technical level. Students must be able to correctly demonstrate all skills and concepts of a syllabus level before progressing to the next, and it is common for students to repeat a level to allow for safe and proper development.
*The only exceptions to this are our recreational Open Teen Jazz Technique and Adult Jazz classes.
Preparatory Division Jazz
Jazz classes are offered to Preparatory Division dancers starting at age 5 (kindergarten.) At this level, students are introduced to basic jazz terminology and skills, with a strong emphasis on isolations and developing rhythm. Students will start to gain an understanding of the stylistic differences between jazz and ballet while also learning how to incorporate their ballet technique into jazz skills.
Performance Technique Division Jazz
Students in the Performance Technique Division will be introduced to the next level of technical skills through across-the-floor combinations, classroom exercises, and performance choreography. Instructors will continue to emphasize rhythm and musicality, and will begin to incorporate a variety of jazz styles into the class. Students will continue to work on developing expression of movement, strength, and flexibility. Throughout this level students will continually be introduced to new elements, both technical and stylistically. The focus at the level will be on developing the students’ technical range as well as molding them into versatile, dynamic dancers.
Jazz Turns and Progressions
These classes focus on teaching the safe and proper technique for leaps, jumps, and turns used in jazz and contemporary styles. Jazz Turns and Progressions I is open to students in Prep Jazz III and above; Jazz Turns and Progressions II is open to those in Jazz II or above, or by instructor placement. These are non performance classes.
Open Teen Jazz Technique
This is a great class for beginning students ages 10 and up to learn the basics of jazz technique. It is a non performance class.
Fun for adults at all levels of dance, from beginners looking for a new form of exercise, to more advanced dancers looking for technical reinforcement. The emphasis will be on basic jazz skills and incorporating them into combinations and sequences.