Jazz Steps

This section describes a number of jazz steps, which are small sequences of steps and choreography that are used in a wide range of jazz and swing dances. These movements involve a single dancer, independently of partner dancing; however, they provide useful building blocks for creating larger choreographies, footwork variations for Lindy Hop moves and other improvisations.

Because most styles of modern popular music involve a rhythmic emphasis on the back beats (the even beats of a bar), many of the jazz steps are choreographed to start on a back beat. If a move sequence takes eight beats and so aligns with the phrasing of the musical structure, then this means that the move sequence aligns with beats 81234567 (rather than 12345678). For shorter sequences that start on a back beat, the count is still given starting with beat 8 as a lead-in beat.

Some of the sequences in this section are short, perhaps only occupying two beats of music. In practice, this often means that the sequence will be repeated multiple times in a real choreography, usually to make an eight-beat sequence. This also means that the style of the move becomes more important: if there is no varying choreography to distract an audience, the repeating move itself becomes more visible.

In theory, any of the sequences in this section can be performed with mirrored footwork as an alternative variation. In practice, many of the moves are indeed performed both ways round (Suzie Q, Boogie Forward, Shorty George, Fall Off the Log etc.) but a few are traditionally performed only with the footwork given (Boogie Back, Stomp Slide, Eagle Slide, Scarecrow, Chase). For the moves that can be mirrored, choreographies often repeat the move once on each side.

Finally, note that some longer jazz steps are described in the context of breaks that include them (Squat Charleston Break, Flying Charleston Break, Shishkeboomba Break), in order to prevent repetition and save space.

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