The Art of Jazz Dance Improvisation: Creative Possibilities

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Jazz dance improvisation over the past century is a virtually untouched area of exploration and research in the dance community. The majority of improvisation that is taught and performed today falls into the realm of modern dance. Modern dance improvisation usually follow principles of movement exploration with the concepts of space, time, and direction. One of the issues with this ideology is that modern dance improvisation often uses everyday movements such as walking, crawling, and even running; as opposed to jazz dance, which tends to follow a specific codified vocabulary as well as follow the rhythm. Some concepts that could be used to inspire jazz dance improvisation can be some of the same motivations for jazz musicians such as chords, rhythms, and even tempo. By creating improvisation from the rhythm of the music rather than from other motivations I believe that the choreography can be invigorated by a new sense of freedom, vitality, and excitement. These qualities in improvised jazz music can provide a beautiful platform for improvised jazz dance. Despite the many layers of unknowns that can take place with improvised music and improvised dance, the challenges could provide new vocabularies and new ideas that can be used to teach children of any age in the classroom. Some concepts that jazz dance improvisation can enhance in young dance students are rhythm, creativity, artistic expression, deeper sense of self, as well as respect for their bodies.

Keywords: Jazz Dance, Improvisation, Enhance Artistic Expression, Modern Dance
Stream: Art and Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Art of Jazz Dance Improvisation, The

Kirsten Harvey

Graduate Student, Dance Department, University of California, Irvine
Aliso Viejo, California, USA

Kirsten Harvey is a dancer, choreographer, and researcher. She has trained with some of the best from the School of American Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and American Ballet Theatre. She was invited to apprentice with the Marla Bingham Contemporary Dance Company at the age of sixteen and was asked to dance as a soloist in the company at seventeen. Ms. Harvey has been represented by the Clear Talent Dance and Commercial Agency since the age of fourteen and is a Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA memeber. Some professional credits include the T.V. series Providence, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Commercials for Coke-a-Cola and Hallmark, and the movie "A Time for Dancing."

She holds a B.A. and is currently finishing her M.F.A from the University of California, Irvine and has won several fine arts awards for her dedication to teaching elementary school children in the Arts Bridge program. Her teaching experience also includes directing the nationally recognized dance program at Tustin High School in Tustin, California. Ms. Harvey at the University of California, Irvine was an assistant researcher of equity in the arts and currently is focusing on jazz and modern dance improvography, a dance fusion form of improvisation and structured choreography.

Ref: A07P0061