The history of jazz dance is intimately tied to the history of jazz music.
“Jazz is a physical and aural expression of the complexity and exuberance of American culture and history.” Jazz dance and music emerged primarily from what is known as African-American folk and vernacular music and dance, lending creative inspiration to each other’s development.
In the 1930s, jazz swing style music and jazz social dance were at their peak. Dances emphasized the swinging body in space, moving not only through the body’s weighted and under-curve release in and through space but also through a propulsive, rhythmic conversation with the equally swinging and propulsive jazz music. Music and dance at the Savoy (Harlem, New York City) drew attention to the fact that the tradition of black music and dance forms were interrelated, and together were responsible for the swing phenomenon.”