The JCE JAZZ DANCE PROJECT
Saturday, April 27, 8:00
Sunday, April 28, 4:00 – a talkback with the choreographers follows the performance
“Doin’ My Jazz” choreographed by Barbara Angeline. Photo: Jan La Salle
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. Choreography credits: Off-Broadway – Fiddler on the Roof - In Yiddish (Assistant Choreographer – Director, Joel Grey), 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: The Bridges of Madison County (American Theater Group), Chicago, The Who’s Tommy and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Woodstock Playhouse), They Walk Among Us (MITF – Award for Best Choreography), Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd (Lancaster Opera House). Assistant Director credits: World AIDS Day Gala (Capetown, South Africa), Jesus Christ Superstar (European Tour – Director, Baayork Lee).
What Inspired Our Choreographers?
I originally created this piece with a Fosse-style esthetic in mind. It was for a show I wrote about a group of French tourists who while renting an upstairs apartment decide to crash the family Christmas party. When I think about influence, though, I am reminded of one of my favorite numbers, Why Am I So Gone About That Gal?, the magic jazz dance created by Gene Kelly, performed by Kelly himself and Mitzi Gaynor in “Les Girls” (MGM,1957). Music by Cole Porter.
Jazz will always have my heart, but I do have to say, by attending the ballet more, it’s widened the vocabulary I use. In every movement and passage I still try to infuse with style and a Gene Kelly-like flow, but many of the shapes of the jumps and turns I’ve started to incorporate have roots in pieces done by friends I enjoy watching with a ballet base. Michael Kidd, in his casting of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” even used New York City Ballet principal dancers. I’m inspired by the old school athleticism and classic flair the Golden Age musicals specialized in, but want to introduce forms seen outside of the pure jazz genre when conceiving something new. I like to conjure my pieces and flesh out my ideas by myself to ensure that it is primarily my own vision and neither a copy nor emulation of previous work. Undoubtedly however, the choreographers I admire most, Jerome Robbins and Gene Kelly, make their presence known in my final product. Yes, they are two of the most popular names in dance history, but that’s for a reason; it would be a shame and disservice not to draw from their brilliance.
Danielle is using music from the Barn Dance in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” for her piece, “Six Gals, for Themselves.”
“I have always been intrigued by the lyrics to the Beatles song, Eleanor Rigby. Eleanor is such a curious figure. The music has such a rhythm to it, like a heartbeat, or a ticking clock indicating the time passing by in her life. I’ve been wanting to do something to this music for quite some time because it has such a strong storyline behind it. In my dance, I want to explore what happened to Eleanor to cause her loneliness, who tried to help her, and then indicate when and how she finally finds her peace.”
Paul A. Brown
I’m paying tribute to all the fantastic women who’ve been my main dance teachers throughout my career: Anna Czajun, Pattie Obey, Nan Giordano, and my first teacher during college at WKU, Beverly Veenker, just to name a few. A special nod also goes to Sherry Zunker, who used this music as a girl’s scholarship piece back at Gus Giordano’s Dance School… and where the idea came (back) from when I started getting only women responding to my dancer search. The title itself is a direct nod to US Representative Maxine Waters, taken from her now famous response, “Reclaiming My Time,” during a House hearing when the respondent was dawdling and wasting her allotted time. I also am using this piece to show my support for women everywhere as they march and fight for their own rights! I believe with today’s political climate, this is the least I could do!