The JCE JAZZ DANCE PROJECT
“FRENCH TRiO” choreographed by Jeff Davis. 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).
INSPIRATIONAL JAZZ DANCE ARTISTS
We thought you might enjoy seeing some videos of dance artists who influenced and inspired some of our choreographers in this edition of the New York Jazz Choreography Project.
Anthony de Marte
I found the song “Plain Gold Ring” a few years before I created movement to it. I stumbled across the song as most millennial do – via shuffling music on Spotify and YouTube playlists and seeing what comes up. When I first listened to it, I was entranced by the way in which the melody and instrumentation build alongside with the singer’s angst and improvisations. However, I was not yet in a place where my body could access a movement vocabulary appropriate to the music. As I began training in modern dance and composition, the tools I was developing allowed me to find the sense of grounding and freedom that I felt the music called for. This merged with the musical theatre and heels-based jazz styles that continued to influence me to create the sensual, fluid dance style of “Plain Gold Ring.”
“Snowflakes,” the music for my piece, was composed by Aleksandr Tsfasman, a Soviet-era jazz musician. At that time Russian musicians did not typically write jazz music. So the idea is about two things that don’t belong together, but somehow work. I let my mind wonder, and thought about two people in love vacationing in a place that somehow is summer and winter at the same time. Hence, my piece, “Summer Snow.”
My piece is inspired by the amazing music of Harry Belafonte. His vocal style evokes a lot of joy and creates very vivid imagery to me. I wanted to make a story of sailors in the Caribbean dreaming of being reunited with their loves. If any movie has a physical influence it might be the Havana scene from the film version of “Guys and Dolls.” I also love this picture of Katherine Dunham from a movie called “Casbah.”
Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers in “Hellzapoppin'” (1941)