Course Title:
Jazz I (Beginning Jazz)
Fall Semester 2013
MF 12:00 noon-1:15 PM, Room 6400
Instructor Information
Delma Iles, MFA
Department of Music, Theater and Dance
Office: 3604-38
Office Hours: MW 1:30-4:30 PM, TR 2:10-4:10 PM
*Please note that if I am not in my office during these hours I am probably in
6400 completing a class or rehearsal.
Office phone: 305-237-3040/alternate phone: 305-858-7002
Email: [email protected]/ alternate email: [email protected]
Jazz dance, unlike ballet, is an indigenous American art form, developed in tandem with
jazz music. The origins of Jazz dance are fused with African rhythms and techniques that
isolate various body parts. It is prevalent in film, video and on Broadway and has
influenced social, theatrical and commercial dance forms throughout the world. This
course is designed to provide experience in the styles of Jazz dance at a beginning level.
The purpose of this course is to develop and enhance greater understanding and
appreciation for Jazz movement, style, rhythms and culture. Through participation
students will develop greater range of movement, alignment, flexibility, strength,
endurance and increased body awareness. In addition, participants will also develop
movement vocabulary, musicality and performance skills as well as understanding of
syncopated rhythms and a variety of musical time signatures and the unique use of body
weight required in jazz dance.
No previous experience is required for Jazz I.
The student will attend class regularly and focus on exercises to become
physically strong and flexible through performing sequential dance exercises in
The student will concentrate on correctly performing plies, releves, tendus,
degages, extensions, isolations, locomotor movement, jumps as well as rhythmic
variations and syncopation.
The student will perform locomotor combinations, working to achieve a sense of
control, rhythm and correct timing of movements.
The student will focus on achieving a kinesthetic awareness of the body moving
through space with efficiency and correct placement.
The student will focus on training his/her body to develop strength, flexibility,
agility, coordination and musicality.
The student will learn to release muscular tension to train the body to move freely
and easily.
The student will acquire an understanding of jazz dance by using appropriate
dance vocabulary and applying learned concepts.
The student will apply knowledge of jazz dance by explaining concepts to the
instructor in physical demonstration as well as oral/and or written formats.
The student will apply learned concepts to critique dance performances.
The student will translate verbal directions into movement patterns.
1. Warm-up and initial technique exercises in the center floor standing and sitting
2. Warm-up techniques including stretching, strengthening and coordination
3. Locomotor movements and combinations including basic jazz walks, shifts of
weight, small jumps, large jumps, jazz runs, basic turns and falls and related skills
4. Jazz dance combinations utilizing the above listed skills
No textbook required. Printed resource materials will be handed out in class from time to
Jazz (not Jazz sneakers) shoes absolutely required by the third day of class
(September 6). If you already own ballet slippers, you may wear them instead of
Jazz shoes.
The beginning of class is essential for adequate preparation of the body/mind for dance,
building a daily sequence of positive and effective conditioning. Your work in each class
is an evolution in and of itself. Training yourself in this process allows you to rise to your
maximum capabilities.
ON TIME means physically and cognitively being in class properly attired and fully
prepared to participate at the time the class is scheduled to begin.
 Students arriving more than 15 minutes late will not be admitted to class and the
class will be counted as an absence.
 Three tardy arrivals equal one absence. Tardy is defined as entering the
classroom after the MDC designated start time up to fifteen minutes thereafter.
 Every two unexcused absences will automatically lower your final grade by one
letter grade!
No textbook required. The instructor will provide supplementary handouts and study
Jazz shoes absolutely required by the third day of class. No exceptions!
All students must wear proper dance attire for all classes including:
 Hair securely fastened away from the face and neck
 Jazz shoes or ballet slippers (black shoes are preferred)
 Leotards and tights or dance pants in solid colors only – not prints. Dance skirts and
sweaters are allowed.
 Men must wear a dance belt (athletic support for dance) to avoid injury.
 Not allowed: plastic pants, large, bulky items of clothing, pantyhose, large jewelry,
hats, or any item of attire that interferes with the class. No bare midriffs. No street
clothing in dance classes.
*Please note that students may be dismissed from class for wearing improper attire!
Course Evaluation/Grading Policy/Assessment Methods/Schedule
Class participation and effort (50%)
1. Class participation, progression, and working in a group
2. Attitude in class, discipline, respecting the instructor, classmates and yourself.
3. Attendance and promptness. SHOW UP ON TIME!
4. Participation in answering questions and showing steps and combinations in class
5. Although attendance is paramount, effort is also essential. Effort constitutes half of
your classroom participation grade.
Progress (30%)
1. The student’s progression of physical conditioning and execution of proper technique,
balance, and coordination
2. Improvement or evidence of learning
3. Quality of performance within technical parameters
Vocabulary (10%)
1. Knowledge and understanding of the ballet vocabulary throughout class using oral
and written exams
Written Critique (10%)
1,000-word critique of a professional dance performance the student attended
(10%). Please note that you cannot make an “A” in this course if you do not turn in
this paper.
Course Policies
Every two absences result in a drop of one letter grade!!!
Every three tardies equal one absence.
*Students who arrive more that 15 minutes late will not be admitted to
class and the class will count as an absence.
Students are only excused from class with a doctor’s note explaining a physical
ailment that prohibits the student from dancing. A student is required to attend
class even with a doctor’s note if the student is mobile.
*Students who are not able to dance due to illness or injury will receive full credit
for attendance provided that the student arrives on time, observes the class to the
end, and writes an evaluation of one of the students participating in the class, which
will be turned in at the conclusion of the class.
Excused absences:
Religious holidays
Miami-Dade official activities
MDC Dance Ensemble performances
Excused absences for unique circumstances are entirely at the discretion of the instructor.
Students who have missed a class may make up the class by attending another
Miami-Dade dance class approved by the instructor. Students may make up up to 4
classes in this manner. All absences beyond 4 classes are not eligible for make up
and will directly result in a deduction from the final grade as described above.
*No make up classes are allowed during the final week of the semester.
Classes begin on time! Be prompt!
The first part of the class is integral for adequate preparation of the body for dance.
Written paper:
 Must be 1,000 words typed & single-spaced
 Is due at the time of the class on December 13 (can be turned in early)
 Can be submitted via email, but email submissions must be RECEIVED no later
than 1:15 PM on December 13
 Will not be accepted late. Late is defined as any time after 1:15 PM on December
13. All late papers will receive a grade of “F”.
 All written work must be original. Any plagiarized work will receive a grade of
“0” and the student may be subject to additional disciplinary measures. Please see
the Miami Dade College Student Handbook for additional collegewide policies
regarding plagiarism.
FELONIES. Plagiarizing will automatically result in a failing grade for the class
and possibly expulsion from Miami Dade College. Please refer to the Miami Dade
College Manual of Policy for complete descriptions of all college wide policies and
To avoid plagiarism: If you directly copy the words of an author, then you must place
them in quotes and cite the source. If you paraphrase someone else’s ideas, you must cite
the source. If an idea is not yours, cite the author and the work from which you received
the idea. Common knowledge and factual information is not generally cited. Copying
material from a concert program book is plagiarism.
Final Exam
No make up exams will be given unless arranged for IN ADVANCE for very good
Final Exam Schedule:
December 9 – Exam Review
December 13 – Written & Practical Exam
Makeup exams will not be given except under the most extreme circumstances!
Extra credit: No extra credit is available in this course. Dance requires direct classroom
participation. No outside work can substitute for class work.
Students with Special Needs: Please see the instructor at the beginning of the semester
to discuss special needs as applicable.
Classroom behavior:
 Students should raise their hand if they have a question. Talking about subjects
other than the classroom material is not acceptable.
 If students are injured or unable to fully participate in the class, this should be
discussed with the instructor prior to the beginning of the class, not after the class
has started.
 Students needing to take a bathroom break should inform the instructor, not just
walk out of the room. Bathroom breaks should be brief.
 Absolutely NO GUM, FOOD OR DRINKS DURING CLASS (water only!)
 All students should treat each other with respect.
 All cell phones must be turned off during the class. If your cell phone rings in
class you will be counted as absent for that class.
Please note that disruption of a class is a misdemeanor under Florida state law!
Instructor Feedback:
Every dance class incorporates direct feedback from the instructor in the form of
“corrections”. This is a traditional part of dance technique classes. Corrections are given
both to the whole class as general information for improvement, and to individuals for
personal improvement. Because each dance student is unique, personal corrections are
specific to the individual student. Receiving corrections does not mean that a student is
doing poorly. Even the most advanced professional dancers continue to receive
corrections throughout their careers. Rather, corrections are information provided for
personal improvement in technique and performance. All students should take corrections
very seriously because they are the key to personal improvement. Student response (by
listening to and applying the information provided) to corrections is calculated as part of
the grade dedicated to classroom participation, effort, and progress.
Safety Rules for Jazz class
 Arrive on time! Your warmup is essential to avoiding injuries!
 Leave adequate space between dancers on the floor. The instructor will show
students how to work safely when the class is crowded.
 In the center, remain in the line assigned to you that day by the instructor and
space the line evenly between the students.
 Stay with the group you are assigned to each day. Do not change groups unless
requested to do so by the instructor.
 Students who place others in danger through thoughtless running around or
getting in the way of other dancers will be asked to leave the class!
 Be prepared to dance when it is your turn, hesitations throw off the space between
dancers and put others in danger.
 Deep stretching should be attempted only after the body is warmed up or you risk
 Student Withdrawal from Class:
If you feel that you will be unable to complete the requirements for passing this class,
you have the option to withdraw from the class by the College’s “drop date” of
November 6. However, there are consequences of which you need to be aware if you
drop a class or stop attending and you should always speak to your instructor or an
advisor first. For example, you must earn at least two-thirds or 67% of the total credits
for which you have registered and that failure to comply with this requirement will
adversely impact your financial aid status with MDC. If after considering the possible
consequences, you still opt drop the class, keep in mind that it is your responsibility to do
so (not the instructor’s) and failure to withdrawal will result in you earning a grade of “F”
for the course you stop attending.
If extenuating circumstances (e.g., illness, accident, change in employment situation, etc.)
prevent you from continuing to attend your class before the drop date, speak to your
instructor first and if needed, to the Chairperson to assess your options.
Available Support Services and information
Students are encouraged to read and view material relevant to this course such as: dance
concerts, videos, and other books.
The Miami-Dade County Public Library in downtown Miami has an excellent collection
of dance books and videos available.
MDC Wolfson library has a small but high quality selection of dance books, videos and
Students are strongly encouraged to attend dance performances presented by Miami Dade
College’s Cultura Del Lobo Series. These are available free or for $5 with your student
ID. Announcements will be made in class when these performances are coming up.
Students are also strongly encouraged to attend dance performances at New World
School of the Arts. These are available free or for $5 with your student ID.
Suggestions for success:
 Listen carefully to all instructions and try to apply them directly to your body.
 Applying both group and personal corrections is the key to improvement.
 Don’t compare yourself to the other students in the class. Each person is different
with a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses. Some students have had
prior dance training before enrolling in this class and are starting with more
experience and knowledge. YOU ARE UNIQUE! Each person progresses
differently depending on their personal combination of strength, flexibility,
coordination, previous experience, mind/body connection, knowledge of music,
and many other factors.
 Don’t be afraid to request an explanation if there is something you do not
 Do learn the terminology of Jazz. It will be used in all jazz classes you take from
now on, in every dance school in the world. It will also be helpful in learning all
Ballet combinations as well as many combinations in, modern, and other dance
Important Dates:
Week of December 2-6: jazz I will not meet in room 6400 due to a Theater
Department production. An alternative classroom will be assigned at a later date.
August 30 – last day to drop and receive a full refund. Also last date to change courses or
add a new course.
September 2 – Labor Day Holiday
November 11 – Veterans Day Holiday
November 6 – last day to withdraw from classes
November 28-december 1 – Thanksgiving Holiday
December 13 – last day of classes
December 14-20 – Final Exam Week