Jazz dance, which emerged in the United States, has always been open to all sorts of influences and marked by diversity. From Joséphine Baker and Matt Mattox to the astonishing rhythmic and acrobatic performances of the Nicholas Brothers, the relaxed elegance of Fred Astaire, the sophisticated technique of Jack Cole and the expressiveness of Alvin Ailey, its exponents were important figures in 20th-century dance. To study jazz dance is to observe an art of the present, open to movements of every kind, hybrid in its techniques, eclectic in its inspiration, mixing time, places and spaces.
This book, which is underpinned by the question of intercultural exchange and hybridisation, brings together different historic and aesthetic approaches. It explores the contexts, artists and creations that can shed light on the movement of the body. It investigates the perspectives, imaginations, fantasies and projections that have shaped critical discourse, as well as the conventions that define an affiliation, a way of living and feeling.
This book aims to provide pointers, perspectives and some aesthetic points of reference, and also to correct a few preconceived ideas, thereby providing a better understanding of the various facets of the most popular of skilful dances or the most skilful of popular dances.
Eliane Seguin is a dancer and professor of dance and dance history. For a long time she was co-director of the Institut de formation Rick Odums and the associated ballet company. She has taught at the Université Paris IX Dauphine. Lecturer and member of the academic committee of the Dictionnaire de la Danse (Larousse, 1999), she is the author of La Légende du jazz (IPMC, 1995) and the Histoire de la danse jazz (Chiron, 2003).