Jazz Funk Dance

Jazz Funk Dance

This Caribbean-inspired dance style is currently a favorite among dance lovers. What does jazz funk dancing look like? Is it similar to other styles? You may have seen various music videos with background dancers accompanying a leading singer or group. Most of them perform jazz, funk, or jazz funk. You may think they are all the same, but we will see the differences if we consider the choreography.


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      “Hips Don’t Lie,” one of the prominent Canadian dance companies, offers dance acts for hire, dance classes in all these styles, and many more. You will feel amazed and thrilled with the perfect movements and routines of our talented masters. Here, we want to describe jazz funk and explain how different it is from its counterparts.

      What Is Special About Jazz Funk Dance?

      An original music style known as funk combines the elements of blues, gospel, rock, and jazz. It focuses on rhythm, and performers need to play the instruments closely together to create a pure and attractive sound. This music has become a basis for jazz funk dance, with its movements taken from hip hop, jazz dance, and walking dance styles. Simultaneously, it involves the elements of classics and fierce spontaneous movements to create a mood.

      Therefore, the jazz funk dance definition can be the following - it’s a set of moves and routines called street jazz mixing hip hop and jazz dance movements. This commercial dance style appeared in the sketch comedy series “In Living Color.” The plot features one of the local jazz funk dance groups, the “Fly Girls,” whose member was Jennifer Lopez. Rosie Perez choreographed their hip hop and jazz sketches.

      The style became well-appreciated and immensely popular. It was brought to studios and TV shows. The popularity of the dance is proved by its continuous use in a variety of music videos by Janet Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Paula Abdul, and Beyonce.

      The popularity of jazz funk originated as a response to hip hop music and dancing that rapidly moved from New York City streets to music clubs and television. The commercial request was for something more codified and precise, so choreographers started introducing classic elements in street styles. That’s why jazz funk dancers may call it street jazz, meaning that it is different from both hip-hop and jazz dances and has managed to carve out its own niche due to the popular music videos and stage productions.

      Every jazz funk dance company of the 1980s strived to develop its own unique choreography to add to the style, and many of them succeeded. We follow their traditions and approaches and further develop them.

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      History of Jazz Funk: Jazz Dance and Hip Hop Influences

      The jazz funk dance history started from hip hop extensions and commercials of the 1980s. It also originated from widening American artists' use of jazz music. Therefore, the jazz funk dance origin can be traced to a number of other dance styles, with the influences of lyrical jazz, ballet, and contemporary hip hop. Jazz dance also affected the choice of movements like flexibility, syncopation, pirouettes, jazz hands, isolations, relives, and rolled shoulders. Even if many jazz funk dance groups use a lot from hip hop, there is a significant difference - dancers use the center of gravity in relation to beat most of the time. Frank Hatcher contributed a lot to this approach.

      Thus, jazz funk dance is not an old style - it has been developing for several decades. It owes its rise and advancement to outstanding American dancers like Brian Friedman, Kevin Maher, and Bobby Newberry. They did much to introduce it as a completely new dance form based on individual combinations of vogue, jazz, hip hop, and whacking. It has become more feminine, with its expressiveness, sharpness, plasticity, and dynamics. All these features are widely used nowadays.

      “Hips Don’t Lie,” a well-known Toronto jazz funk dance company, introduces new features and approaches to this and many other dance styles for your pleasure and even more entertaining experiences.

      Routines and Techniques Taken from Hip Hop and Jazz Dance

      If you watch any jazz funk dance performance, you will see how much its dance routine has borrowed from hip hop and jazz. We can say that the common jazz funk dance routine features the foundational movements of jazz with strong influences of hip hop.

      However, all jazz funk dance teams perform their dances in a way that is absolutely different from traditional hip hop, even lyrical hip hop. Their performances include pirouettes and arabesques, uncommon for hip hop. Dancers here do not use the balls of the feet (releve) to move. Unlike hip hop, with its sweeping movements and large steps, jazz funk uses smooth and small steps and delicate movements that beautifully replace each other. Hip hop utilizes a relaxed, soft, and slightly bent back position, while the body staging in jazz funk is classically direct and choreographic.

      Despite its name, the jazz funk dance technique is neither purely jazz nor funk. Let’s consider the choreography in more detail to understand why. First of all, if you look at any performance from a jazz funk dance group near me, you will notice the undeniably powerful influences of many other styles from the world of dancing, like tap, ballet, swing, and jazz, while the theatric poses can be traced to the Los Angeles LGBT street dancing known as waacking.

      jazz funk dance

      As for jazz, it is an Afro-American form of dancing that features smooth movements and relaxed postures presented to various beats. Jazz is simultaneously a foundation and borrower from lyrical jazz, Broadway jazz, and jazz funk. It can also use a ballet scenario for presentation. Pointed gestures and upright postures are noticeable in jazz too. A performer has to be presentable and energetic. There are a lot of pirouettes and grande jetes in the routine, too.

      Therefore, jazz funk dance companies have inherited and developed the routines of jazz, hip hop, and other styles to create the commercial jazz funk variation that won many's hearts. They contributed a lot to emphasizing intricate movements and feminism. Modern jazz funk dancers use the illusion with the help of fast movements and original postures to create specific images in the viewers’ minds.

      The elements of funk are also recognizable here. It is about fun and self-expression. Adding funk elements provides lyrical senses and emotional interpretations. This is a story-based performance embodied in movements. All the steps and postures help unlimited personal expression, making jazz funk even more stunning.

      jazz funk dance routine

      Present Day of Jazz Funk Dance

      The jazz funk dance meaning does not imply classical training nowadays. Though, you have to be fit to take up the style. Dance classes are great for young girls who desire to mold their own dancing features and display creativity and passion by inventing new steps and movements. Jazz funk is about versatility and experimentation, so you can always find a local jazz funk dance group that meets your expectations. It is cool that you do not need any special outfit here apart from wide hip-hop pants and tight-fitting colorful T-shirts.

      Jazz dancing is especially popular on television and the Internet these days. You can see the best jazz funk dance performance in the shows of many celebrities, like Madonna, Beyonce, and Britney Spears. The choreography is more precise and scripted, and it is different from hip hop. Background dances in these music videos draw the public’s eye to the main stars. Freestyle is fundamental here, and it creates the impression of a true art form.

      You can also see a lot of jazz funk on YouTube these days. Many YouTubers strive to search for something new or refer back to the moves they enjoyed watching and performing in their early years. That makes this dancing a favorite and absolutely trendy in the whole world. Jazz funk is perfect for emotional depth projections and storytelling. It adds a lot to its popularity. It has a sort of magic in its representation and produces broad appeal.

      Competition levels are not too high for jazz funk dancing if compared to jazz or hip hop. However, you can encounter a jazz funk dance company that participates, arranges, or encourages different kinds of competitions, and it is amazing.

      At “Hips Don’t Lie,” we are excited about the jazz funk dance style, and our professional dance teachers and performers do their best to popularize this art form. So, if you want to find any jazz funk dance troupes for hire near me, address your wishes to our company. We offer the best entertainment acts for hire in Toronto and GTA, featuring jazz funk dancing and other dance forms. We can make your celebration or festive event unforgettable with our offer of a performance consisting of 5 different dancing styles at one price.

      If you are interested in learning jazz funk, you will find the most experienced dance teachers here, so we are ready to change your life for the better.

      Jazz Funk Dance

      What is jazz funk dance?

      This style is a mixture of jazz dance and hip hop. It took a fast pace, pointed gestures, and quick changes of movements and positions from hip hop, while jazz became its base, featuring classical posture and elements of ballet and swing.

      What is the difference between jazz funk and hip hop?

      Though this style borrows much from hip hop dance, it is not the same. Its foundation elements are taken from jazz. Hip hop does not have pirouettes or arabesques. In addition, dancers here do not perform on releve, meaning on the feet balls. Another difference is in steps. You can see large steps and sweeping hand movements in hip hop but steps and movements in jazz funk are small and smooth. Hip hop does not require upright upper-body positions - it is more relaxed and slightly bent back.

      What’s the difference between jazz and jazz funk?

      These forms look similar to most people, but the actual dance performance is completely different. Jazz revolves around a ballet scenario. It is characterized by smooth movements and postures performed to the beats. Jazz funk is influenced by the hip hop dance style very much. So, it has quick movements and abruptly pointed gestures. While jazz emphasizes energy and presentation (due to the posture and costumes), jazz funk accentuates feminism and intricate movements.

      What is a style of funk dance?

      Poppers and Lockers perform the funk style. It includes popping, locking, waving, and gliding. The style differs from b-boying and other street dance styles. Most of them appeared in the late 1960s and were popularized by the TV program “Soul Train” in the 1970s.

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