Get Dancing at Arthur’s Tavern – NYC’s Ultimate Jazz Bar

Martin Luther King Junior believed jazz was the most powerful soundtrack for the resistance. He said jazz spoke for life; it tells of moving through struggles to reach a new sense of hope. Jazz music and dance have stood the test of time because of their vibrant and dynamic expression, steeped in history yet always fresh and modern.

At Arthur’s Tavern, a live jazz bar in NYC, you can step back into the Jazz Age and try out some of jazz’s most iconic moves. Places to gather and dance exploded as the Roaring Twenties shook up the social mores around dancing in public, especially for women. Arthur’s Tavern brings that infectious speakeasy energy into the modern era so you can dance the night away, fuelled by one of our signature jazzy cocktails.

Set the Stage With Jazz Dance Basics

Jazz dance is not preserved in amber, locked in rules and technique – it’s surprisingly democratic, inviting everyone onto the dancefloor. Dynamic and expressive, it allows the dancer to give it their personal touch, making every dance a journey, a story being told. If you’re ready to give it a try, there are a few basic things you should know before you start.

Warm Up

Jazz dance focuses on strength and having a centered posture, so it’s always a good idea to warm up before you hit the dance floor. Focus on your core and gradually raise your heart rate so your muscles are warm and ready to get down.

Choose the Music

Once the body feels a bit looser, the next step is to choose music that suits your mood and your fitness level and, of course, brings that unmistakable jazz flavor. Start with your favorite bebop number, or take it up a notch with a hard bop with some serious zing. The basic elements of jazz are syncopated (that means quick!) rhythms, improvisation, fancy footwork, and – maybe most importantly – expressive energy. If you get the style right, everything else will follow.

Essential Jazz Dance Moves

There are a handful of easy jazz steps that shouldn’t be too difficult to master ahead of your next visit to your favorite NYC jazz bar. If you master these signature moves, you’ll be able to jazz it up with the best of them. YouTube is a great resource if you’re looking for simple guides and examples of each one.

Jazz Square

Start with a true classic – the jazz square. As the name suggests, you’re stepping in the shape of a square. Cross one foot over the other to the top corner, step back to the back corner, step to the side to the other back corner, and then step forward to hit the final top corner.

Chassé Step

The chassé step is found in a wide variety of dance styles. This rhythmic side-to-side movement involves making the feet “chase” one another. A chassé comprises three steps that travel sideways: step to the side, close your feet together, and then take another step with the first foot.


Isolations, or sharp movements with only one part of the body, are a jazz trademark. Think about moving just your shoulders, your hips, or your ribcage. A dramatic head turn is never out of place. Whichever part you choose to move, do a few movements with the rhythm of the music to really make a statement.


And finally… don’t forget your jazz hands!

Try Out Your New Jazz Dance Routine at Arthur’s Tavern

After a bit of practice and with plenty of personal flair, you’re ready to put all your dance moves together at our speakeasy-style jazz bar. Arthur’s Tavern never disappoints when it comes to jazz, so no matter your preferred style, you’re sure to find a night that suits you. 

Check out the lineup and get ready to enjoy outstanding live jazz and blues every night of the week. Whether you’re a dancer or just want to have a good time, book your table and join us to raise a toast of your drink of choice to the joys of jazz.