Jazz dancing, and its steps and style, originated from the dancing of African Americans that were brought to America as slaves. Originally, the term jazz dance encompassed any dance done to jazz music, including both tap dance and jitterbug.
Over time, a clearly defined jazz genre emerged, changing from a street dance to a theatrical dance performed on stage by professionals. Some scholars and dancers, especially Swing and Lindy Hop dancers, still regard the term jazz dance. It is a genre which has produced specific styles from famous choreographers such as Bob Fosse, Jack Cole, and Katherine Dunham. Jazz dance can refer to these specific styles or allude to theatrical or character dance.