First known as Jass music, and later being called Jazz. Jazz is a crossbreed of north American cultures, a music and a dance of the slaves of Africa, old European Jigs, lilts, Minstrel shows, the stage and Jazz music. Jazz is part of the genuine folk culture of North America and the only such national tradition.
The original Jazz dances of the American Vernacular Jazz Era (1920s) were the Charleston, Black Bottom, Frisco (Camel Hop), Tap, Modern, Eccentric, Lindy Hop,
Texas Tommy, Bunny Hug, Collegiate Dances, Grizzly Bear, Shimmy, Fox-trot, Shag etc. Thru the use of the Ballet, Musicals, Vaudeville and the dances above, a style of dance would soon form and be called "Stage Dancing" which would be renamed later to "Jazz dance and again later to Modern Jazz to identify the break away from the past." The first Jazz dancer to dance to Jazz music was said to be "Frisco" Rooney, who spotted Al Jolson and started mimicking him at the Lambs Cafe in Chicago. It made Frisco very famous ... with a dance credited to him called ... "Do the Frisco!."
The first origins of Jazz dance was mainly made up of male dancers with only a few women achieving stardom throughout its history, however as always there are exceptions such as Isadora Duncan's unique ballet and Jazz, Josephine Baker (who was a swing dancer at a younger age). Baker captured Europe in the Follies-Bergere in Paris with her beautiful looks, sweet voice and her unique African-American Jazz dance style!.
Today any professional dancer male or female can not make it without a Modern Jazz background. As well as Modern Dance, Interpretive, Tap, and Ballet, with some Adagio, Social and or Ballroom dance thrown in. Dance history and dance theory is a big help as well as some acting and singing. There are many variations of Jazz dance such as interpretive, Modern, Hip-Hop, Break Dance etc. Historians will note that such movements like the 'Moon Walk' and 'Spinning on ones back into a pose' dates back to the 1930's and maybe even well before. Taking lessons from master dance instructors like Luigi Facciuto (New York) and other masters help greatly as well.