Inspirational Jazz Dance Artists

We thought you might enjoy seeing some videos of dance artists who influenced and inspired some of our choreographers in the New York Jazz Choreography Project.

APRIL 2017

Gregory Kollarus
Gregory’s piece in the Jazz Project was inspired by Judy Garland and Fred Astaire in “A Couple of Swells” and Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon in “Who’s Got The Pain.” “‘Falling Into the Current’ was inspired by classic jazz and vaudeville. It’s about two vaudevillian performers who used to be wildly successful, but at this point in their lives, they are completely washed up and homeless. These two people have basically sacrificed their lives for the art of vaudeville and jazz.”

Kyle Weiler
I was actually inspired to make this piece after reading the Neil Simon play, ‘The Sunshine Boys,’ produced in 1972. The play is about the tumultuous relationship of a famous vaudeville comedy duo that reunites after 11 years apart. This Shaw & Lee video below provided additional inspiration and insight into the physicality of the due.

Sue Samuels
Sue’s inspiration is Jack Cole, who is a founding father of the Classic Jazz Dance style we have today. “He traveled the world and came back with the ‘jazz hand,’ head, shoulder and hip isolations, and rhythmic moves which are used in different countries around the world. When he returned to the USA, he added his classic ballet training with the shoulder, hip and head isolations, jazz hand and other finger movements he had picked up and one of my personal favorites, the hinge!”

Rachel Leigh Dolan
Rachel is influenced by old Hollywood musicals. “Cyd Charisse is a huge influence…in choreographing for a female. Her movement is sexy and classy and captivating.” This video is from “Singin’ in the Rain” featuring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse.


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