Dance Education

Jazz-funk Dance Class For Beginners

A Teacher’s guide to conducting a perfect Jazz-funk dance class.

Jazz-funk is a contemporary dance style that is rapidly gaining popularity. Before we talk about the why’s and how’s of conducting a jazz-funk dance class, we must first answer the question ‘What is Jazz Funk?’ 

Jazz-funk is the amalgamation of the energetic, fast-paced movements of hip-hop with graceful movements like pirouettes of jazz.  The Jazz Funk style of dancing is classified as a commercial dance style, meaning that it is more easily accessible to the general public than other types of jazz dance, thus the rise in popularity.

From a teacher’s perspective, many essential aspects must be made a part of the class flow.

  1. Warm-Up-
    From any physical activity’s standpoint, an adequate warm-up is important. It prepares the body for the upcoming, physical activity. For a jazz-funk class, the warm-up must consist of the following-Dynamic Stretching– Gentle movements that are not focused on holding a stretch.

A light cardio-vascular activity like spot jumps for the heart rate to go up.

2. Grooves & Isolation Movements-
Grooves and isolations are two distinct types of movements done to the beat of a song. They are fundamental jazz funk moves that all beginners learn to form a base.

Grooves, as the name suggests, focus on grooving to the music. It helps in making the student comfortable with rhythmic movement and also helps in developing musicality. Click here for a few basic groove examples.
Isolation movements focus on moving one part of the body at a time to the music. These largely help in building the body’s neuro-muscular connections and also with musicality. Click here for a few basic isolation examples.

In any form of dance, footwork is a major component. The same applies to jazz-funk. Being a mixture of jazz and hip hop, this dance form has a lot of variety when it comes to footwork. It has energetic moves that come from hip hop like jumps and kicks and also soft and elegant moves from the jazz side like pirouettes and developés. Footwork is an absolute essential for any beginner to learn and get competent with.

Click here for a few examples for hip hop based footwork.
Click here for a few examples of jazz-based footwork.

4. Across The Floor Movement-
Travelling across the dance floor is an important aspect of any good performance. Moving across the dance floor while dancing has certain technique to it and must be taught to all beginners. Once the students have learned a few grooves and footwork combos, they can be taught to move across the studio while actively doing said moves. This will teach them how to gracefully move around the dance floor when engaged in a performance.

Click here to watch the most fundamental and basic across the floor movement in jazz-funk.

5. Choreography
This aspect is the end result of your dance class. All the elements covered above, put together should be a part of your choreography. The choreography for a beginner class must not only cover all the technical aspects. It should also be enjoyable and engaging. Choosing the correct song for the choreography can also drive up morale and enjoyment.
Click here for a youtube playlist of songs we suggest.
Click herehere & here for a few examples of  basic jazz-funk choreographies.

6. Cool Down-

This is the perfect way to end your class. At the end of the class slowing down the activity and performing a few static stretches is the best way to cool the students down. This relaxes their heart rate and muscles after a class of high amounts of physical activity.

A dance class is a great way to boost a child’s mental and physical fitness. When enrolled early, it builds a strong base for movement in children and develops their motor skills. These aspects are simply a means to the end. When followed properly, they will assure the best possible results for all.

These are the aspects we believe are necessary. Do you think we missed something out?
Let us know in the comments below!

By swarapatel

Program Director at Agile Kids.
Co-Founder Rhythmus HappyFeet, Bombay Ballet Company, Bloomville Early Learning Centre.
Head of Orchids International Schools Performing Art Division from 2017 - 19 with 35 schools under her purview.
MBA, Dance educationalist, Member of the International Dance Council, Dance Therapist certified BY CDI France and CMTAI, Kinesthetic Teaching Expert & a performing artist.
Trained at Danceworx in Jazz and Ballet.
Was an official contestant in DID super mom (A reality dance show on ZeeTV)

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