Jitterbug to Jazz Hands: Jazz Dance Over the Years

Touring Performance • Dance

With Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, students will take a journey through the rich history of jazz and its dance. Students can explore this American heritage through the New Orleans style of the early 1900s, the “Swing” and “Big Band” phenomena of the 30s, Be-bop of the 40s, the free and avant-garde jazz of the 60s, the Latin & Indian influences, the jazz/rock fusion of the 70s, R&B/Soul, and the compelling ways dance can tell a story.

These exciting shows combine dynamic choreography, inspiring music, audience participation and much more, creating a treat for all the senses. The energizing choreography engages and educates students about different dance styles and what to look for in movement. In addition, students discover how history impacted American artists’ work, and how those artists influenced history, changing the social and political climate of America, bridging cultural and racial differences and unifying the human spirit.

Please choose from the following Jitterbug to Jazz Hands: Jazz Dance Over the Years performances:


This program is designed for all ages. Our dancers take your students through a dance & musical journey in a fun and whimsical way. We explore different styles of jazz music and dance within different time periods, pointing out how dance & music reflected and responded to American history.

Ragtime- “Maple Leaf Ragtime” Swing- “Stompin’ at the Savoy” Latin Jazz- “Manteca” *Soulful/Gospel- Dr. King & Mahalia Jackson “If I Can Help Somebody” & “Precious Lord” *Indian/Pop Influence- “Love in a Foreign Language,” replaced by Broadway- “Jazz-O-Lantern,” for younger audiences Jazz/Rock Fusion-“Tom & Jerry”


“American Music through the Ages” is a program designed for all audiences. Students are exposed to many different styles of American jazz music and dance and will also begin to discover how jazz relates to our history, both socially and politically.

Ragtime-”Maple Leaf Ragtime” Swing- “Stompin’ at the Savoy” Latin Jazz- “Manteca” R & B/Soul- Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home,” & “Jesus Gave Me Water” Eclectic/Diverse Jazz-Miles Davis- Corner Sketches #1 (Dig) Jazz/Rock Fusion -“Tom & Jerry”


This program is designed for older students. Students are exposed to the theatrical expressions in which dance tells an array of stories and stirs emotions. Each dance proposes a different scenario in storytelling, speaking to human experiences by using diverse and moving choreography.

Ragtime- “Maple leaf Ragtime” Swing- “Stompin’ at the Savoy” “Pedestal”- A trio dance that deals with an oppressive relationships “Dreaming of Home”- A duet with high/intricate lifts Soulful/Gospel Dr. King & Mahalia Jackson “If I Can Help Somebody” & “Precious Lord” OR R&B/Soul Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home,” & “Jesus Gave Me Water” “Jazz-o-Lantern” OR “Manteca” “Tom & Jerry”

(Formerly known as Jazz and Its Dance)

Availability: Tuesday, Thursday & Friday

For All Ages

Technical Requiremnts:

  • PA system with CD/iPod hookup and 1 microphone, preferrably wireless
  • One small table/podium
  • Minimum 18′ x 20′ performance space with clean floors
  • Access to electricity




The presenters did an excellent job working with kindergarteners in a developmentally appropriate way.
Ravinia School
Highly professional group. . . .[G]ood variety in music and dance as well as making a connection to historical situations and creating a bridge with today's music and dance.
Teacher, Chicago Christian High School, Palos Heights IL
Base Price:
Audience Size:
350 maximum
Program Length:
40 minutes