The JCE JAZZ DANCE PROJECT
This show has been cancelled
“Good Judys” choreographed by Spencer Pond. 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: Off-Broadway – Fiddler on the Roof - In Yiddish (Assistant Choreographer – Director, Joel Grey), Amerike – The Golden Land (The National Yiddish Theater - Folksbiene), The Golden Bride (Chita Rivera Award Nomination / The National Yiddish Theater - Folksbiene), Eddie and the Palaceades (Midtown International Theatre Festival “MITF”), The King of Second Avenue (New Repertory Theatre). Director/choreographer:Fiddler on the Roof - In Yiddish (Assistant Director, Australian Company, Director, Joel Grey), The Bridges of Madison County, (American Theater Group), Chicago, The Who’s Tommy, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Woodstock Playhouse), They Walk Among Us (MITF / Award - Best Choreography), Roar of the Greasepaint (Lancaster Opera House).
Where Do Our Choreographers Find Inspiration?
We thought you might enjoy learning what inspired some of our choreographers in this edition of the JCE Jazz Dance Project.
For this work I was inspired by Brazilian musician and composer, the legendary Sérgio Mendes. Although the piece was inspired by his later album “Brasileiro,,” exploring Afro-Cuban Bahian rhythms, this video features Sérgio Mendes & Brasil 66 performing on the television special “Something Special,” featuring Eartha Kitt. This clip gives a glimpse into his early years in the United States and features a track from his first album for A&M Records.
Here is a video that has inspired every work I’ve ever done. The raw physical strength Bob Fosse and Tommy Rall exhibit in this piece is noteworthy, but there’s something about their finely-tuned technique and expression that just shows such truthful joy and love of dance. I aspire to create dance moments that capture artists’ inner-joy that dance brings to them as much as this clip shows the passion these gentlemen have for dance. It is so honest, so pure and so incredibly entertaining to watch. Watching people truly exhibit their love for their art form is perhaps the most contagious thing an audience can see on a stage, and I always remember that when creating new work.
What inspired me about The Hot Sardines’ rendition of the jazz standard “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” musically were the strong bass movements and the incorporation of the Latin drive in the drums. There are so many rhythms to pull from which makes my mind as a choreographer go wild. As a musician myself, I love to play with rhythms and momentum in my pieces. Just when you think the percussion will stay steady, it switches, and I love the excitement and element of surprise with that, and I wanted to see how I could incorporate that with movement. Storywise, this song has so much imagery within it that immediately sparked narratives in my mind. It felt very musical to me and reminded me of something I’d hear and see in an old Hollywood movie musical, which was the inspiration behind the story telling in my piece. I wanted to make a fun, clear story through dance that was supported by the clear lyrics in this song.
There was no exact jazz piece or scene that inspired this piece, but I was very inspired by the movement of old Hollywood choreographers like Busby Berkeley, Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. And more contemporary choreographers that inspired my piece are Al Blackstone and Andy Blankenbuehler.
For my piece, “Alabanza,” I was inspired by the history of grief. This picture from Ancient Egypt inspired me because I thought about how in the art that is made to express the lowest experiences of humanity, humans have always turned straight to the idea of looking up, raising up. Just as these Egyptians are searching up to their God, so too did the characters in “In The Heights” search upwards, and rise upwards.
From the movement perspective, I was interested in how these murals captured the essence of a moment without any excess, and I wanted to do the same with each character in my piece. Capture the essence, simply, and leave the rest.