As its clubs brought together jazz music and dance in the early 20th century, Harlem became the cultural center of the country. Jazz dance, often called vernacular jazz, Broadway or theatrical jazz, is based on the African-American social dancing that emerged in hotspots like Harlem’s Apollo Theater and the Cotton Club.
This Dance Discovery session will introduce us to jazz dance movement inspired by the music featured in the Center’s upcoming Harlem 100 performances, which celebrates music of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters.
Suggested for ages 12 through adult. No partner or previous dancing experience is necessary to register.
Following this session, consider attending Harlem 100: Celebrating 100 Years of the Harlem Renaissance on Nov. 8.
Appropriate attire: Clothing that is comfortable to move in, with dance shoes or non-rubber-soled shoes. No sandals, please.
About the instructor: Justin David Sears-Watson grew up in Evansville, Indiana, competing as a classically trained vocalist and spending his younger years onstage as a musical theater actor and singer. He earned a degree in Musical Theatre Performance from Northern Kentucky University and then moved to Chicago, training in dance under Alexi Kremnev and Anna Reznik. He also studied at the Cincinnati Ballet School and the Giordano Jazz Dance Scholarship Program. He recently retired from Dance Kaleidoscope and is now the Artistic Director of Phoenix Rising Dance Company.
Justin has had the privilege of working with many of the best choreographers and dancers around the globe. He is excited now to be directing and teaching at his own studio