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Different Dance Styles


Jazz is a popular dance style that uses various high-energy movements. It has a long history and originally stemmed from African American cultures. Throughout the years, many other dance styles have derived from jazz such as tap and ballet. Jazz relies partially on improvisation as well as bold, dramatic moves including twists and turns. Up until the mid-1950’s, the jazz dance style was often portrayed as tap dancing because it utilized jazz music and quickly became one of the most popular dance styles of that time. Jazz has greatly evolved since the 1950’s. Today, jazz dance is popularly used in dance schools and is a major part of theater productions.


Lyrical dance encompasses a mix of ballet and jazz dance styles; it is more fast-paced than ballet but flows smoother than jazz. Lyrical also allows dancers to tap into their emotions and showcase them through their free-flowing movements. Lyrical dancers also tend to use music with meaningful lyrics to accompany their performance, as it adds greater depth to what they are portraying with their movements.


Hip-hop is an upbeat dance style that is usually paired with hip-hop music. It originated from African American and Puerto Rican communities in the 1970’s. Rappers and DJ’s were also on the rise during this time, and because all three paired well together, hip-hop became more and more popular and well-known. The evolvement of hip-hop music through the decades has also translated over to the creation of new movements in the hip-hop dance style. Today, it is still a very popular style of dance and is used by dancers all across the world. It is sure to keep growing and evolving in the future!


Contemporary is a popular style of dance specifically in the United States, and is taught mainly through dance studios. It takes elements from jazz, lyrical, ballet, and modern to create a unique, expressive dance form. Contemporary dance often uses improvised, emotional movements and does not follow strict rules like ballet; it is often seen as a structure-less style of dance and gives dancers lots of creative freedom.


Tap dancing is a very fun and unique style of dance. What makes this dance different is that each dancer wears special shoes with metal pieces on the bottom. So whenever they step, their shoes make a “clack” sound. Dancers utilize this entertaining sound into their routines to create different rhythms and beats. Since the sound from the shoes is crucial to tap dancing, music is not always used in routines.


Ballet has been around since the Italian Renaissance in the 15th century and later grew popular in France and Russia. It has become one of the most well-recognized and respected forms of dance, as classical ballet has been around for almost 400 years. It traditionally includes the uniform of pointe shoes, leotard, and a tutu. Ballet is unique in its graceful and elegant movements including a plié, a pirouette, and a grande jeté.


The modern dance style is similar to ballet, but it does not follow along with their typically tight rules. It was developed in the 20th century to purposely go against classical ballet and instead bring creativity and life to dance. Modern dance concentrates on the inner feelings of the dancer and pushes to bring them to life through the motion of dance. This can even include the use of dramatic physical expressions or wild music along with the dance.

-Natalie H.



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