|photo by Brian Mengiini|
This class celebrates jazz dance as a dynamic, expressive, complex and continuously evolving form. Because jazz dance is inspired by vernacular dance and music, the class explores movement that has its roots in African-American dances such as the Cakewalk, the Charleston, the Lindy Hop and Hip Hop as well as the Mambo and salsa of Latin America. These social dances provide the source for movement that is passionate and physically challenging. We will approach the complexity of jazz dance from a somatically sophisticated base, integrating elements from current and classical movement techniques with a deep understanding of the body. The goal of this training is to move with clarity and ease, to be musical, expressive and to embrace risk. The warm-up is organic and “body-friendly”, yet physically rigorous. The movement explores a wide range of jazz styles with a focus on elements such as isolation, swing, pulse and rhythmic variations.
Cathy Young received her BA magna cum laude from Harvard University in Sociology and Women’s Studies, and her MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois. She is nationally recognized as a master teacher of jazz dance, and has conducted residencies at over 40 colleges around the country, as well as teaching at major U.S. festivals including Bates Dance Festival, Florida Dance Festival and the international Open Look Festival, in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a performer, Cathy has danced with numerous companies including Zenon Dance Company and Danny Buraczeski’s JAZZDANCE! touring extensively throughout the US and Europe, and performing in prestigious venues such as the Joyce Theater in New York and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. For the past 20 years she has been focused on creating her own work, a dynamic mix of styles and dance forms that intermingles jazz, modern, contact improvisation and social dance. She creates choreography for her own company, Cathy Young Dance, and has also been commissioned by professional companies and presenters including The Walker Art Center, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Pennsylvania Dance Theatre, Zenon Dance Company, The Minnesota Opera and internationally by Kannon Dance Company of St. Petersburg, Russia. Her choreography has been recognized with awards and grants from the McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Target Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board, among others. She was previously Department Chair and an Associate Professor of Dance at Ursinus College, and now serves as Director of the Dance Division of The Boston Conservatory.