The Evolution of Latin Jazz Music and Dance : Under the Skin

Date of Award


Document Type

MSU-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


College of the Arts


Theatre and Dance

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Christian von Howard

Committee Member

Diann Sichel

Committee Member

Cristina Marte


The story of Latin American music and dance is one of cross-pollination where the dances, rhythms, instrumentation and social rituals of distinctive cultures coalesced into new forms of expression. Along the continuum of styles was Latin Jazz, the result of the mutual fascination that Afro-Cuban and jazz musicians shared for each other’s artistry. Most types of Latin music have their own dance forms, which evolved simultaneously with the music, often graduating from the streets to the dance clubs and sometimes to stages. Latin Jazz music took its own path, originating on the bandstand without the parallel emergence of a dance form one would officially call “Latin Jazz dance.” In my research, I set out to expand my understanding of the evolution of Latin Jazz music and dance and attempt to answer the question: How can I define Latin Jazz Dance and trace its evolution into what it is today? Armed with that knowledge, in the future I intend to teach dancers and choreographers about the music and dance and to stage works for concert performance in the genre.


The performance video is restricted to the Montclair State University community but the PDF file of the thesis, which is located at the bottom of the screen, is available to anyone interested in reading it.

File Format


Ceccon, Teresa_Redacted.pdf (321 kB)
PDF file of thesis

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