What Is Jazz Ballet?

By Cee Donohue ; Updated September 15, 2017
Jazz and ballet are sometimes combined in children's classes.

Jazz and ballet are two different styles of dance; ballet is a classical and more formal style, while jazz is more relaxed and informal. However, jazz is influenced by a lot of ballet technique as well as other styles of dance like hip-hop and modern. Combining jazz and ballet can be done in a few different ways, from music to dance style.

Performance

A jazz-ballet, when referring to a performance, is a ballet routine that incorporates jazz moves and is sometimes performed to jazz music or another contemporary style of music. This combination of dance styles has been adopted by dance companies all over the world. Although it strays from the traditional ballet performance, it still requires the same amount of discipline, technique and musicality.

Class

Some dance schools will offer classes that are a combination of jazz and ballet. This is usually for young children who might not have the discipline for a full ballet class. In order to make it more fun and less formal, the class will also involve basic jazz moves practiced to contemporary music.

Similarities

The same strength, flexibility and control are needed for both jazz and ballet. In classes and performances, the turns, jumps and floor progressions are similar as well as the need for a strong center and good leg extension. Lyrical jazz is the most similar to ballet because of the smooth and controlled movement and expression.

Differences

Ballet is often performed to classical music and jazz is performed to a wide range of musical styles, which has a big effect on the dance moves and how they are executed. Classical ballet requires pointed toes, a lifted upper body and very strong lines. Jazz, on the other hand, is sometimes performed with flexed toes, strong hands, and bent knees depending on the choreography.

About the Author

Cee Donohue started as a comedy writer in 2004. She has written for "One to One Magazine" and the "South Hollywood News." Before moving to Los Angeles, Donohue attended the University of the Arts.