Dance is a complex and demanding art form. Each society has its own dance form according to its cultural values and social norms.
Ballet and Jazz are two of the very famous dance forms, especially in the western world. Both are extremely mesmerising and fascinating to watch and require great flexibility, balance and resilience.
Both dance forms are however miles apart. The major difference between them is that Ballet is more of a traditional form, while Jazz is considered to be casual and informal. The former of the two is a classical dance form, originated in the 16th century. Jazz, on the other hand, is relatively new as it was originated in the 20th century in United States of America (USA).
As far as the body movements are concerned, Ballet is way more complex than Jazz.
Jazz is entirely based on the neutral body movements, whereas Ballet is a lot more vibrant and formal. There are no hard and fast rules in Jazz, as the dancer does it only for his/her own satisfaction. Ballet is totally performance oriented.
There are specific structure and techniques required in Ballet, whereas Jazz is not complex by any means – the Jazz dancer has great freedom as compared to Ballet. If you are a beginner, you will need plenty of time to learn Ballet. On the contrary, Jazz can be learnt quite easily.
If we look at the popularity graph, Jazz is way more famous because it is often used in movies, TV shows, and even Broadway musicals. Jazz can be slow at times, but the body movements are usually sharp and abrupt. On the other hand, Ballet is just like poetry in motion, and very graceful.
Related: Difference between Jazz and Swing