Top American origin dance forms

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american dance forms

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I am sure most of you will agree with me if I say Dance is the most aesthetic medium of communication. It’s a performing art that comprise of sequences of eloquent human movements conveying different expressions. Historically developed as a leisurely grooving with music, Dance now has assumed a structured art form that can be categorized and described by its choreography, repertoire of movements, or by its historical period or place of origin. Amongst different classifications, place of origin of a dance style is most significant, as it reflects the root source of the aesthetics associated with a particular dance genre. Among various dance styles of different origin, American origin dance forms have been very popular in the west and are progressively been adopted by dance arena across the globe.

The United States of America is a home to an array of dance styles including Hip-Hop, Tap Dance, and its derivative Rock and Roll, and modern square dance. (source : Wikipedia). The country has always been a hub of social and formal dancing including the vivid Swing dance, Jazz and Foxtrot.

Here is the list of the most popular dance forms that originated in America.

Swing dance


Swing dance is a group of dances that developed with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s–1940s. Out of hundreds of styles of swing dancing developed during that era, once that survive today include: Lindy Hop, Balboa, Collegiate Shag, and Charleston. The most well-known of these dances is the Lindy Hop, which originated in Harlem in the early 1930s. 

Swing is a quick, fast-paced couple dance, characterized by lots of swinging, flipping, and rhythmic tossing of dancers. It is a non-progressive dance style mostly performed in one spot. Unlike ballroom dancers, the swing dance couples hold hands as opposed to placing hands on the shoulders or around the waist.

If you dive into the world of swing dance, you will very often come across the term- Jitterbug. Jitterbug is an umbrella term that denotes all forms of swing dance, though it is often used as a synonym for the six-count derivative of Lindy Hop called “East Coast Swing”. Interestingly, a swing dancer is also known as jitterbug. Swing dance include a variety of uniquely partner dance styles:

  • Lindy Hop: Perhaps the most popular swing dance, this dance originated in Harlem.
  • East Coast Swing: Seen often on club or tavern dance floors, this dance was influenced by the Foxtrot.
  • West Coast Swing: A slotted dance in which the follower travels back and forth along a rectangle, or slot.
  • Jive: Jive is a fast-paced variation of the Jitterbug.
  • Boogie-woogie: This dance is usually danced to rock music or blues.
  • Carolina Shag: A dance performed to beach music.

Hip Hop dance

Hip-hop dance originally was a street dance style performed to hip hop music. This free style dancing includes a wide range of techniques primarily breaking or break dance which was created in the 1970s.Developed as the most informal dance form, in the streets of America ,this dance style gradually garnered lime light through television shows like Soul Train and the 1980s films Breakin’, Beat Street, and Wild Style. The mainstream exposure, led to the evolution of  studio-based version of hip-hop—sometimes called “new style”—and a hip-hop influenced style of jazz dance called “jazz-funk”. Today, hip-hop dance is practiced in both dance studios and outdoor spaces.

With the increase in dance-focused shows such as So You Think You Can DanceAmerica’s Got Talent, America’s Best Dance Crew, and World of Dance, Hip-Hop dance has now become a staple of pop culture.

Jazz dance

Jazz dance is the performance dance technique and style that emerged from the African American vernacular dance of the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. Jazz dance often refers to several related dance styles, all of them with the common origin as tap, ballet, jazz music, and African-American rhythms and dance. Jazz dance may refer to vernacular jazz or Broadway or theatrical jazz. Jazz dance is characterised by jumps and turns, which essentially requires correct postures to properly execute such moves A strong technical foundation is a must for this dance style, as it enables a Jazz dancer to focus on the stylistic and performance aspects of dance. Also, jazz dancers’ strong and sharp movements are greatly aided by a good background in ballet technique.


The foxtrot is a beautiful, romantic dance form evolved in1910 and gained maximum popularity in the 1930s. The dance styles is characterised by long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor and is danced to big band (usually vocal) music. The foxtrot dance style essentially requires smooth movement, with no jerking of the body. Timing is also a very important component of the foxtrot. As it is a more challenging than other styles of dance, it is wise to learn the waltz and quickstep prior to attempting it. The slow foxtrot is a favourite among ballroom dancers .the American Social Style, the American Continuity Style, and the International Style are the three distinct styles of slow foxtrot which are commonly practiced by ballroom dancers today.

Modern dance

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Modern dance refers to a broad group of western concert or theatrical dance,evolved in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly in Germany and the United States as a result of various historical social changes. The evolution of Modern Dance is marked by a rejection or reaction of the constraints and formality of ballet, especially the strict aristocratic roles and conformity from which ballet emerged. The revolutionary innovative dancers disregarded ballet’s strict movement vocabulary; the particular, limited set of movements, and stopped wearing corsets and pointe shoes in the search for greater freedom of movement. Apart from movement modern dance holds contrast to ballet dance in term of relation to music, use of space and performers. In ballet, the dancer’s movements correspond harmoniously with the music, but in modern dance, dancers may dance off-beat or in contrast to the music, ignore the music completely, or dance on a silent stage. Unlike the large casts and strict hierarchy of ballet, a modern dance choreographer may work alone or with smaller dance troupes. While ballet dancers typically face the audience directly, modern dancers use all orientations, even completely turning their back on the audience.

5 most popular types of dance for adults in America

Dance classes are one of the best way to nurture your creative self . Dance is also being recognised as an activity to aid in stress relief through providing an emotional outlet, and it also helps to stay on fitness track. So, if you are adult looking forward to learn dance for the aforesaid reasons, or any other reason of your own, following are the five most popular dance styles you can choose from initially to begin with.



Ballet is one of the most revered dance forms, recognised across the world for its beauty, elegance and discipline. The classic of all the dances, this timeless dance form is highly technical and thus can serve as a strong base to excel in other genres of dance. Ballet dance is also a great choice for people who are looking to keep fit, as the dance training leads to strengthening and toning the core, stomach, upper back, arms, buttocks and legs while increasing flexibility. Owing to its high level technicality, the authentic ballet style can be difficult to master, but there are certain styles of ballet such as ‘ballet fusion’ which combines the traditional elements of ballet with some modern elements other genres and are easy to learn and practice.

Suggested attire: Reasonably fitted clothing that you can move comfortably in. Ballet shoes are required. 



Contemporary dance is an innovative dance style inspired from a number of dance genres including Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical and Post-Modern, thus serve as an interesting dance genre for beginners. This dance style features an array of creative movements performed to a wide range of music, combining energy, style and technical skills. So if you want to train into a multi-styled, modern and dynamic dance form, Contempoary dane could be your choice.

Suggested attire: Reasonably fitted clothing that you can move comfortably in. This is a bare foot class, but some students prefer to wear thin cotton socks, foot thongs or Ballet shoes.

Hip- hop

Hip Hop

Evolved from the American street dance and music(rapping and DJing), Hip Hop dance is now one of the popular dance genres among the present generation. This is a high paced and energetic dance form comprising of swift and agile movements. There are many different styles within the hip-hop genre, so those of you who are interested in this style of dance can chose the one which is right for you.  

Suggested attire: Think loose street-style clothing – trackpants, tee and runners but nothing with too much grip!



Jazz is a dynamic dance genre, characterised by technical and energetic choreography executed to strong beats. Made popular by TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance and World of Dance, Jazz can be performed to variety of popular music from yesterday to today. Jazz style of dancing blend together a number of elements, including technique, creativity, movements and more, hence, learning Jazz can be an upbeat and fun experience. Students learning Jazz get trained in various techniques such as turns, kicks and jumps. Thus, Jazz can serve as suitable choice for someone who wishes to hone and challenge their technical skills and energy levels. This makes it a great type of dance for people who are looking for an energizing challenge.

Suggested attire: Reasonably fitted clothing that you can move comfortably in. Black Jazz shoes are required. 


Tap (2)

Tap dance is perfect for those who have a sense of rhythm, control and co-ordination. The rhythmic sound created by the tap shoes is the very essence of this dance style, and it requires regular practice to conquer the required skill. Tap shoes have metal plates under the balls and heels of the dancer’s feet, which produce sound of beats when combined with rapid foot movements. These classes are best for people who are willing to dedicate time to learn how to express yourself solely through the movement of their feet.

Suggested Attire: Reasonably fitted clothing that you can move comfortably in. Black Tap shoes are require.

You should probably look for Best Dance Studio in Washington Dc .

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