September 28, 2023


Make Some Fun

Jazz Arts Re-Wired by BOP Jazz Theatre at The Place | overview

4 min read

Phrases by Stephanie Burrell. Stephanie took half in our Visitor Writers programme supported by Arts Council England.

Jazz Arts Re-Wired was an evening of fourteen works of various Jazz Dance Theatre expressions by rising and established artists. The night in early June was introduced by BOP Jazz Theatre in partnership with The Place, One Dance UK and Jazz Theatre Arts UK. Supported by Arts Council England, Jazz Arts Re-Wired sought to re-establish the heart beat and imaginative and prescient of UK Jazz Dance Theatre Arts. Taking a double-pronged strategy, BOP Jazz Theatre delivered a two-day jazz dance conference: first, a sensible day of Jazz dance workshops on Could twenty seventh at The Place, adopted by a night giving reverence to the dwell performances of the UK Jazz Dance Theatre panorama.

Jazz Dance Theatre has its origins within the variety of American tradition. Relationship again to the nineteenth century, it’s a cultural motion that has been influenced by the social-political and historic occasions of America: specifically, the enslavement of West Africans who introduced alongside their wealthy cultural expressions. Music and dance being an integral and sacred custom inside spiritual, non secular and social practices, they preserved these traditions which went on to turn into the idea for what Jazz Dance is at present. Physique isolations, stamping, clapping and grounded knees are cornerstones of many West African kinds of dance which knowledgeable the Jazz Dance idiom together with European kinds. The profound historical past upon which Jazz stands was deliberately recognised through the programme.

“If you wish to know the reality about any artwork type…it’s a must to begin firstly!”

Dollie Henry

BOP Jazz Theatre opens the present with a piece titled ‘DIRECTIONS’ choreographed by Dollie Henry MBE. The piece is launched by a voice-over the place Jazz Dance and Music legends, similar to Miles Davis, are cited. The voice behind this spoken rating is Dollie Henry herself. Opening the evening with this piece made it clear for all of the mission of Jazz Arts Re-Wired: to champion modern artists by way of the explication of their wealthy cultural lineage. Henry’s voiceover echoes her quote that lies behind the programme; “If you wish to know the reality about any artwork type…it’s a must to begin firstly!”.

On the coronary heart of the jazz creative idiom is story-telling. BOP Jazz Theatre Firm’s curation ensured {that a} vast breadth of voices was heard that night at The Place Theatre, from extra established artists and choreographers to rising artists sharing their distinctive tales and expressions. This spectrum of artistry meant that we because the viewers may take pleasure in excerpts from elaborate conventional ensemble jazz dance items to solos that demanded that we expect introspectively about our personal humanity. 

Following Henry, rising artists Darius Drooh and Nahum Mclean current ‘DEATH OF THE BACHELORS’, a piece that employs distinctive method with theatrical comedy practices. This mixed observe was the vessel for 2 characters to come back to life on stage. We comply with “two older males who type an unlikely friendship as they reminisce about their youthful days as bachelors”, as described within the programme. By dialog, collectively they rejoice the ability of friendship and the great thing about life’s journey. Getting into stage-left with a relaxed but bouncy saunter, the 2 dancers settle by a desk and set up their friendship within the type of at-ease physique language and eye-contact.

The portrayal of an age group totally different to 1’s personal presents itself with challenges and runs the chance of amateurism or corniness. Drooh and Mclean’s characterisation encapsulates the essence of what it’s to age and take pleasure in recollecting previous occasions. Their number of music heightens this; beginning with James Brown’s rhythm and blues monitor ‘Evening Prepare’, the duo jerking their limbs in sync with the guitar and horns part of the monitor. The recurring set of guitar chords turns into the sonic backdrop for the pair to delve deeper into this older-male characterisation, and permits for extra particulars to unfurl all through their efficiency. With every hip swing, fencing-like level of their finger and funky head-nod, they take us to America’s deep south. With a musical interlude of Sam Cooke’s ‘Idiot’s Paradise’, the gospel instrumentation encourages the pair’s efficiency to decelerate and undertake an un-disturbed but torpid high quality. The duo’s slowing-down of the motion, their reactions to the music and each other suggests a deeper acknowledgment of reminiscence and reminiscing. ‘DEATH OF THE BACHELORS’ captures the essence of Jazz Re-Wired by paying homage to the socio-cultural happenings that encompass the dance type while sealing it with their very own distinctive creative signature; conserving it present and related.

This night of Jazz Dance artistry in all its shifting and various varieties was a testomony to the wealthy dance ecology in London and the UK. Dollie Henry MBE and Paul Jenkins in partnership with The Place created an area the place the historical past of Jazz Dance and music was honoured and recognised; a social dance with African, European and American roots. By the specific referencing to the progenitors of this cultural motion and shout-out to neighborhood, they held house for an nearly magical environment the place a twentieth Century Broadway revue felt palpable while (jazz)-hands felt firmly on the heart beat of the distinctive London / UK scene.

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