THE NEW YORK CHOREOGRAPHY PROJECT APRIL 2018
Tickets Available Now
Early Bird Price through April 1st: $20
Online Sales: $25 General; $20 children and students with valid high school or college ID’s
At the Door: $30 General; $25 children and students with valid high school or college ID’s
Please present your credit card or a printout of your receipt (and valid ID for students) at the box office to claim your tickets. Online sales will close three hours before each performance (or sooner if the performance sells out). Thereafter, tickets will be available only at the door. The Box Office will open one hour prior to each performance. Doors will open one half hour before show time. Seats are not assigned, so it’s best to arrive early. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of management. The performance will be approximately one hour and 10 minutes long, no intermission.
No refunds or exchanges.
Marian Hyun has studied jazz and ballet in New York with Luigi, Bob Audy, Ed Kresley, Shirley Bassat, Julia Dubno, and wonderful teachers in Paris, France, Susan Sparks and Frédéric Lazzarelli. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she was a freelance writer and a writing instructor at the New School before enrolling in the Dance Education Lab (DEL) at 92nd Street Y. Since then she has taught dance to people of all ages, from two-year-old pre-ballerinas to senior citizen jazz buffs in various New York studios and community centers. She has choreographed for the New York Jazz Choreography Project, Choreographer’s Canvas, the Fridays at Noon Marathon at 92nd Street Y, and the Comedy in Dance Festival at Triskelion Arts. In May 2007 at New Dance Group, Marian produced the first performance of the New York Jazz Choreography Project, a showcase devoted to jazz dance. It sold out. Subsequent performances of the Jazz Project have been produced semiannually by Jazz Choreography Enterprises, Inc., a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization established in 2007 to promote the creation of original jazz choreography. Marian is the president and co-artistic director of Jazz Choreography Enterprises.
Merete Muenter is a founding member and co-Artistic Director of Jazz Choreography Enterprises, Inc. Choreography credits: Off-Broadway – The Golden Bride (Chita Rivera Award Nomination), Amerike – The Golden Land, The Megile of Itzik Manger, and Lies My Father Told Me (The National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene), Eddie and the Palaceades (Midtown International Theatre Festival “MITF”), The King of Second Avenue (New Repertory Theatre), South Pacific (Lancaster Opera House), Sherlock Holmes – The Early Years (New York Music Theater Festival). Director/choreographer credits: Chicago, The Who’s Tommy and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Woodstock Playhouse), They Walk Among Us (MITF – Award for Best Choreography). Assistant Director credits: World AIDS Day Gala (Capetown, South Africa, Jesus Christ Superstar (European Tour – Director, Baayork Lee).
What Inspires Our Choreographers?
We thought you might enjoy finding out who or what inspired some of our choreographers in this production of the New York Jazz Choreography Project.
“Rush Hour Rendezvous” is a musical theater dance piece inspired by the musings of New Yorkers and the daily subway commute. Never the same, sometimes playful, often offensive, and always interesting: I hope to poke fun at the mundane, and the terrible service of the MTA. It’s a make-believe world where rush hour is an enjoyable ride and a celebration of the experiences one can only find in NYC!
Dancer: Cindy Reid
Photo: maljpetphoto, photography by Mallory Pettee
I did a lot of research on the state of Jazz dancing before the 1940’s, on Vaudeville acts, and early movie musicals in order to create Bud and Blossom, our dancing duo. I saw a video of Eddie Cantor doing some stand up and singing some of his famous tunes and instantly knew that Bud had to have a lot of his qualities. He had such an interesting way of showing physical comedy, which gave me a good foundation to create my own gags. Bud’s character is also reminiscent of comedians of the time such as Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges, and Shaw & Lee.
The inspiration for creating “Well, Git It!”? The Nicolas Brothers in general, and this classic choreography from the film “Down Argentine Way” from 1940 specifically. The Nicolas Brothers are of course brilliant technicians and performers. It’s not just their astounding virtuosity that excites, but the exuberance of their expression. With “Well, Git It!” I wanted to play with this over-the-top one upmanship, where anything one can do the other can definitely do the same, if not better. There is a relentless pacing which I also kept, which fuels the experience for the viewer along with the dancers. Watching The Nicolas Brothers we are swept up in the current of movement, accelerating toward a crescendoing finish. With “Well, Git It!” I followed a similar strategy where the audience doesn’t have time to be taken out of the choreography, and enjoys the satisfaction of the release along with the dancers. This is go-for-broke dance and the Brothers are among the best!
The idea of exploring connections between street dances of NYC and Swing/Lindy Hop/Jazz and even Latin dances came from conversations with street dance pioneers Marjory Smarth, Sekou Heru and Willie Estrada. They all studied the shared lineage of these dances, as well as the social and political environments that created them. Soon after the initial discussion, I unexpectedly took a Jazz class from Moncell Durden, an assistant dance professor at University of Southern California, at Advanced Street Style Lab. The similarity between Jazz steps and Hip Hop/House dances, as broken down by Moncell, motivated me to continue the exploration of the NYC dance lineage rooted in the African Diaspora experience. The inspiration for “reasonsLegacy” is NYC, the dancers and movers who overcome oppression with creativity, the club and street dance culture, and the dance pioneers who tirelessly teach and share the culture with us.
“This Way” was inspired by the idea of three young woman having a first experience. It is the celebration of the beginning of a new chapter, and in many ways it is also a memory piece. I was inspired by the Steps Conservatory Program students who are dancing it, by their journey of coming to New York (from California, from France, and from Italy), and falling in love with not only the city itself, but the wealth of possibility that lay before them. We were inspired by the way it felt when they first got here, and we infused the choreography with their personal individual memories and experiences. Now, three years later it is time to say good-bye to the program that brought them here and embark on a new adventure as changed young ladies.
Having three women always makes me think of the Supremes, and inevitably I was inspired by the youthful, playful nature of the girls themselves. Moments of the piece feel very personal and others, quite presentational, as if they bounce between the performance and their own memories. I also found myself inspired by one of my greatest teachers, the late Doug Caldwell who was a pioneer of lyrical jazz. I hope that the emotion and joy of the piece, as well as its roots in a classic lyrical jazz vernacular, would make him proud. Lastly, this is a piece rooted in the romanticism and ever changing allure of our great city, New York.
The April 2018 New York Jazz Choreography Project is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. LMCC.net
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council empowers artists by providing them with networks, resources, and support, to create vibrant, sustainable communities in Lower Manhattan and beyond.
All of JCE’s programs are made possible in part by support from our sponsor, Salon Ishi.