How Jazz Dance Classes Incorporate Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Jazz dance classes are a fun and creative way to get your groove on while learning how to dance. But what makes jazz dance so unique is that it incorporates music into the choreography.


Jazz dance is a performance dance style that originated in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Jazz dance may refer to any one of a wide range of dances including Lindy Hop, Charleston, Ragtime, and Tap, which were all popularized by African American dancers in the early days of jazz. Today, Jazz dance is enjoyed by people of all ages around the world and is performed in a variety of settings including stage shows, film, television, competitions, and nightclubs.

One of the most distinguishing features of Jazz dance is its use of music. Unlike other genres of dance which often rely on pre-recorded music, Jazz dancers often improvise their movements to live music. This gives Jazz dancing an added element of spontaneity and makes it a truly unique form of art.

Another important aspect of Jazz dance is its focus on individuality. Unlike other styles such as Classical ballet which emphasize uniformity and conformity, Jazz allows dancers to express their own personalities through their movements. This makes Jazz dancing a very inclusive art form that anyone can enjoy regardless of their background or experience level.

The Importance of Music in Jazz Dance Classes

Jazz dance classes are a great way to get kids moving and shaking to the beat. But what most people don’t realize is that there is a lot more to jazz dance than just dancing. Jazz dance classes also incorporate music into the curriculum.

The Role of Music in Jazz Dance

Music is central to the jazz dance experience. Class begins with a warm-up, during which the dancers gradually increase their heart rates and loosen their muscles. The warm-up is followed by across-the-floor exercises, which give the dancers a chance to practice basic steps and combinations. The across-the-floor portion of class culminates in a dance combination that includes all of the elements learned up to that point.

In order to dance effectively, jazz dancers must be able to internalize the rhythms and dynamics of the music. This requires a deep understanding of both the technical aspects of music and how they relate to the movement of the body. Good jazz dancers are able to “hear” the music in their bodies and move accordingly.

In addition to providing a metronome for the dancers, music also sets the mood for a jazz dance class. Uptempo songs create an atmosphere of energy and excitement, while slower tunes may induce feelings of reflection and introspection. The choice of music can also be used to cue certain types of movement or help dancers transition between styles. For example, faster songs may call for more athletic movements, while slower tunes may prompt dancers to focus on isolations or floor work.

Ultimately, jazz dance classes would not be possible without music. It is the foundation upon which all other elements are built. Without it, there would be no rhythm, no harmony, no feeling — in short, no life.

The Benefits of Music in Jazz Dance Classes

Whether you are a beginner or have been taking jazz dance classes for years, you have probably noticed that music is an important part of the class. Many people think of music as simply a way to set the mood or pace of a class, but it actually does much more. In fact, music can be a valuable tool in helping you learn and improve your jazz dancing.

Here are some of the ways that music can help you in your jazz dance classes:

1. Music can help you keep a steady beat.
One of the most important aspects of good jazz dancing is being able to stay on beat. This can be difficult, especially if you are new to the style. However, listening to music carefully can help you develop a better sense of timing and rhythm. As you become more comfortable with the rhythm of the music, you will find it easier to stay on beat when you are dancing.

2. Music can help you develop your technique.
Jazz dance technique is very important if you want to be able to perform well and look good while doing it. One way that music can help you develop your technique is by providing a consistent tempo that you can dance to. This can help you get used to moving your feet and body in time with the music, which will make it easier to execute specific steps and combinations.

3. Music can provide inspiration.
Another great way that music can help you in your jazz dance classes is by providing inspiration. If you are feeling stuck or uninspired, listening to some upbeat jazz tunes can really get your creativity flowing. Sometimes all it takes is hearing the right song to give you some great ideas for new steps or combinations.

4. Music can help improve your focus.
It can be easy to get distracted during jazz dance class, especially if there is a lot going on around you. However, if you focus on the music and let it guide your movements, it can actually help improve your focus. This is because when you are focused on the music, there is less room for other distractions to creep in. Additionally, dancing to music can be very hypnotic and trance-like, which can also help improve your focus overall

How Jazz Dance Classes Incorporate Music

Jazz dancing is a very popular form of dance that incorporates music and dance. Jazz dance classes are a great way to get into shape and have fun at the same time. Many people find that jazz dancing is a great way to relieve stress and tension.

The Use of Live Music in Jazz Dance Classes

Jazz dance classes often incorporate live music to provide students with the opportunity to experience the requlatory feel of dancing to an actual band or musician. This is particularly beneficial for those who may want to pursue a career in professional jazz dancing. Even for those who do not want to pursue a career in professional jazz dancing, live music provides an added layer of engagement and excitement to jazz dance classes.

There are many ways that live music can be incorporated into jazz dance classes. Musicians can come into the classroom and play while students dance, or students can go out to see live jazz performances and then come back and learn choreography inspired by what they saw. Jazz dance teachers can also create lesson plans that focus on specific songs or artists, and then bring in a band or musician to play that music live in class.

No matter how it is incorporated, live music brings an added level of energy and excitement to jazz dance classes. It also gives students a chance to experience firsthand the feeling of dancing to live music, which can be very different from dancing to recorded music. If you are interested in taking jazz dance classes, be sure to ask your teacher if they incorporate live music into their lessons!

The Use of Recorded Music in Jazz Dance Classes

While it is true that some jazz dance classes use live music, the vast majority of class time is spent with recorded music. This is due to the practicality and logistics of having a live musician in the room (cost, space, noise, etc.).

That said, recorded music presents its own challenges for the jazz dancer. In order to create a successful class, the instructor must be well-versed in both music and dance. They must be able to select appropriate tracks, give clear counts and verbal cues, and provide corrections as needed – all while moving themselves.

In general, there are three types of recorded music used in jazz dance classes: top 40/pop, classic jazz, and original compositions. Each has its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Top 40/Pop: The most popular type of recorded music used in jazz dance classes, top 40 tracks are typically high energy with a strong beat. This can make them perfect for certain combinations or drills, but they can also be difficult to execute more intricate steps to. In addition, the lyrics of pop songs are often not appropriate for a family-friendly environment.

Classic Jazz: Recorded Jazz from the 1920s-1960s is becoming increasingly popular in dance classes. These tracks have a vintage feel that can add an element of fun or nostalgia to a class. They also tend to be slower and have more defined counts than pop tracks – making them ideal for learning new steps or practicing more complex phrases. The downside is that some students find classic jazz less interesting or enjoyable than pop music.

Original Compositions: These are tracks that have been specifically composed for dancers or choreography – often by the instructor themselves! While this guarantees that the music will fit the choreography perfectly, it can be expensive and time-consuming to produce these tracks in large quantities. As a result, they are often only used for special occasions or performances.


In conclusion, Jazz dance classes are a great way to stay active, have fun, and learn about a different style of dance and music. Jazz dancing incorporates many different styles of movement, so it is important to find a class that is suited to your skill level and interests. Be sure to ask your teacher questions if you are unsure about anything, and most importantly, enjoy yourself!

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