Dance Genres Explained

Ballet originates in the late fifteenth century Italian Renaissance court as a dance interpretation of fencing. Ballet was further developed in the 16th century in the French courts. Ballet is considered the most classic form of dance. Classical training includes classical ballet music, partner and pointe training, plus variation training in classical ballet pieces. Elite is not a “classical” ballet studio in the sense that although we use ballet as the foundation for our dance training, it is used as a spring board for other contemporary forms of dance. Elite's ballet training includes solid technical training, ballet vocabulary, pointe and partner work. Our approach to ballet departs from classical training in the practical application of music and choreography within our classes and productions. Our ballet then takes a more contemporary approach which would also include the genre of Lyrical dance (contemporary ballet and jazz movement to lyrics). Benefits for the Ballet dancer include: strong technical training, correct body alignment and mechanics, grace and style in movements, partner training and pointe work, and a strong dance foundation. Benefits from Lyrical dance: musicality, expression, performance and improvisational skills.

Jazz Dance
Jazz dance originated in the 1950's and would include tap dancing. Jazz dance has it's origins in the African American and Caribbean cultures and would eventually evolve into the Broadway scene that was mostly influenced by Bob Fosse (Chicago, Pajama Game, Cabaret). Jazz dance became more fluid and is now essential to musical theater. Tap dancing branched out and has followed its own evolutionary path. Elite's jazz training includes solid technical training, but should be categorized more as Contemporary Jazz (not Modern), in that our approach to jazz is to use the largest pallet of movement, music and style as possible which should continually evolve with our instructors, our students, new music and the larger dance culture. Benefits for the Jazz dancer include: strong technical training, correct body alignment and mechanics, the ability to move quickly and strongly, musicality, current choreography and styles, confidence and performance ability.

Hip Hop
Hip Hop appears as a dance genre in the 1970's. It originates within the African American and Latino cultures in the United States. What separates hip-hop from most other forms of dance is that it is often freestyle (improvisational) in nature. The primary styles of hip hop are Breaking (originating in the Bronx) , Locking (originating in Los Angeles) and Popping (originating in Fresno). Krumping came about in the 1990's within the African American communities in Compton CA. Clowning (the predecessor to Krumping) was created in 1992 by Tommy the Clown. The commercialized version of hip hop is called New Style or L.A. Style and is the kind of dancing seen in most rap and R&B music videos and concerts. Elite dance studio endeavors to teach true, street hip hop. Our studio has popping, locking, breaking and krumping instructors.  Elit's classes are structured to include the original three elements of hip hop, which are FREESTYLE (improvisation) BATTLES (dancers competing one on one) and CIPHERS (a circular dance space created by observers). Benefits for the Hip Hop dancer: strength (core, arms, legs, total movement), the ability to freestyle (improvisation skills), musicality, performance ability, confidence, expression, and cardio work.

Tap dance has it's origins in Clogging (England), Irish/Stomp/Step Dancing (Irish), Juba Dance (African) and Flamenco (Spanish). American tap dancing began to develop as early as the 1930's and is distinguished by percussive footwork, precise rhythmic patterns, as well as improvisation. Elite's master tap teachers are also accomplished musicians, which adds an additional component to our studio's tap program which is seen both in our teaching methods and choreography. Elite's style of tap dancing would be labeled "hoofing", which would be more rythmic in style as opposed to Broadway style tapping.  Benefits for the Tar dancer: musicality, rhythm, footwork and patterns, improvisation skills, strength, and performance ability.