RSS Feed

Behind Ballet Austin

Posts Tagged ‘Broadway’

In Search of All That Jazz

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

When I think of “jazz,” the music of Bourbon Street or from a favorite Broadway show pops into my mind. But Jazz encompasses a wide range of music from hip hop, reggae, contemporary, and other countries, just to name a few. With such an eclectic mix of music, what exactly is jazz dance?

Several classes at the Butler Community School (BCS) fall into the “jazz” category: Broadway Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Jazz Turns & Jumps, Jazz Funk, and just plain ol’ Jazz!  Because I get so many questions about jazz as well as the differences between each class, I decided to share some interesting facts about the dance form.

Jazz dance has a rather long and rich history that has evolved over the years. Jazz had its roots in African culture, where people depended on dance to tell stories and express their beliefs. This interpretive dance was brought to America. The style later changed even more with European influence, but it still continued to be a dance of expression.

Since the 1920s, Jazz has continuously evolved – Jazz dance changed as our culture changed. From the Charleston of the 1920s, jazz evolved into swing jazz during the 1930s big band era. People like Jack Cole, Bob Fosse and many others made theatre jazz popular in the middle of the century. In the 80s, FAME, FLASHDANCE, and FOOTLOOSE left their mark. Each decade brought something new and fresh. The evolution of Jazz has lead to jazz funk, lyrical, and the contemporary jazz of today. But even today,  despite the range, just mention jazz to one person and it will mean something quite different than it might to another.

In spite of such diverse influence and change, or maybe because of it, jazz classes are some of the most popular dance classes around today. At the BCS, the legacy of Jack Cole can still be found in a Broadway Jazz class. Contemporary Jazz offers a more commercial style with a mix of lyrical, pop, and contemporary often seen on So You Think You Can Dance. Jazz Turns & Jumps is a technique class, designed to work on movement and learn tricks. Jazz Funk falls in line with the hip hop classes, cool and funky to the hottest pop music. And then there is just Jazz, a fun, upbeat, New York style jazz class.

Despite all the changes over the decades, and all the different styles, one thing’s for sure: Jazz is fun. There’s a style for everyone, too, so let go and express yourself. It’s what Jazz is all about!

 

Click for more information on Jazz classes at the Ballet Austin Butler Community School.

Crossover Kids

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Georgia Brinkman in Ballet Austin Academy class

I love watching our kids explore the many-faceted world of dance.

One of the greatest joys for me as Schools Director is to watch our students explore the world of dance. Many try multiple styles of dance, combining of the codified syllabus of Ballet Austin Academy with the many varied offerings of the Butler Community School. A great example is Georgia Brinkman who just finished performing with Ballet Austin in La Sylphide. She is an accomplished young ballet dancer, but when she takes down her bun and replaces her pointe shoes with character shoes, I see a budding musical theatre performer. Each experience compliments the other and ultimately creates a more versatile performer.

Georgia Brinkman performs in Magic in Manhattan

This spring we will launch the latest addition to Ballet Austin’s roster of kid’s camps, The Broadway Kids. The camp is for kids ages 5-10 and will introduce a whole new generation to the joy of musical theatre. With every new venture, I see the opportunity to ignite a spark in the minds of the participants. When my daughter Madison was five she participated in a Broadway musical theatre camp. In the years that have followed, she has taken more dance classes than I can count. She has studied voice and performed a multitude of monologues. Her love of musical theatre has turned her passion into an aspiration to perform professionally. This fall she leaves for college as a musical theatre major. The spark ignited 13 years ago has started her down a very exciting path. Once lit, the possibilities are limitless…

Sara and Cassiday from Mix 94.7 Dance at the BCS!

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

I have listened to Sara and Cassiday on the Mix 94.7 JB & Sandy Morning Show. I love their energy and sense of fun. I got to see that energy, mixed in with a LOT of fun! Sara and Cassiday came to take the Broadway Fit 101 class Tuesday night at the BCS.

According to Cassiday’s blog, “It was not only fun, but a GREAT workout as well. I will be going back to take more classes from them soon!” Sara was a bit nervous but agreed that it was a lot of fun! Check out the video of Sara and Cassiday dancing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” during Broadway Fit 101 at the BCS! Wonder if they’ll be back next week to learn Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance?

Looking For A Little Holiday Magic?

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

It starts after Thanksgiving. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, scrubbing pots from oversized meals, decorating for the holidays, entertaining family guests, and guessing the BCS rankings. It might be easy to lose any thought of ‘joy to the world’. The true holiday spirit can be all around us, yet somehow elusive as we see only what has to be bought, what has to be done.  What we have and what we don’t have.

magic267The holiday season began for me in September. I watched with fascination as over 50 performers from the Butler Community School’s Musical Theatre Workshop, written and directed by Danny Herman and Rocker Verastique, built an original holiday musical, Magic in Manhattan. It put the holiday season in perspective for me. I can’t wait to see it on stage December 11-13!

Magic in Manhattan takes place in New York City on Christmas Eve. While a dad spends Christmas in Afghanistan, a mom finds a way to bring a little joy to her three girls. The story follows them through the streets of Manhattan, where they witness the contrast between the buying and selling of luxuries at Macy’s and Saks, and the stark reality of poverty in this land of plenty. Yet, New York City becomes a place filled with the magic and the spirit of the holiday season. They only have to look for it.

Don’t get caught up in the business of this holiday season without taking the time to let the sounds of the season make your holiday a little more magical!

Click here for tickets or more information about Magic in Manhattan.

Broadway – It’s Closer Than You Think!

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins, Michael Bennett, even Michael Jackson, have come alive here at the Butler Dance Education Center. You can hear them when you walk through the halls. They live on through the lives of Danny Herman and Rocker Verastique. These two guys are the real deal. Straight from Broadway, having starred in such recognized productions as A Chorus Line, Chicago, and Contact, Danny and Rocker light up the lives of BCS students from age 8 to 58. Sometimes I have to marvel at the stories they tell…hanging out on stage with Michael Bennett, riding in Bob Fosse’s limo…

And then I have to marvel even more when I realize that they teach here…HERE! When it comes to Broadway and Theatre Dance classes, we have the best! And that’s probably an understatement. As I said, they are the real deal! Seriously…if you don’t believe me, come down and try a class in April. Broadway Jazz and Theatre Dance are featured as the BCS Classes of the Month. If you’ve never been, try your first class FREE, and rub shoulders with a couple of veterans.

Not only do Danny and Rocker teach classes here at the BCS, they are creators and directors of the upcoming Musical Theatre Workshop performance Broadway in May//100 Years of Broadway, to be performed on stage at the AustinVentures StudioTheater May 1 and 2. “They say the neon lights are bright on broadway. They say there’s always magic in the air.” I say the neon lights are bright on the corner of 3rd and San Antonio, and I know there’s always magic in the air.

For more information about the BCS Class of the Month for April, Broadway Jazz & Theatre Dance, click here.

For more information about Broadway in May, or to purchase tickets, click here.

 
© 2014 Ballet Austin Site Designed & Developed by SiteGoals