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Jazz dance has developed in parallel to popular music throughout its history. This pattern of development has resulted in elements of movement that are key to the dance style. The most important of which are the physical embodiment of the popular music for each given time.

Jazz dance encompasses a broad range of dance styles. Before the 1950s, dance styles originating from African American vernacular dance were referred to as jazz dance. Then in the 1950s, with roots in Caribbean traditional dance, modern jazz dance emerged as a new genre of jazz dance.  Every individual style of jazz dance has roots traceable to one of these two distinct origins. Jazz was a big hit in the early 50's, and it is still a well loved style of dance all over the world. Moves used in jazz dance include jazz hands, kicks, leaps, sideways shuffling, rolled shoulders, and turned knees.