DANCE JAM PRODUCTIONS











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Who can forget the most popular dance movie–of the 80’s–of all time? Celise told me she had “the time of her life” seeing this movie 10 times! Sad to say, this movie came out two years before I was born (1987), so I never got a chance to see it on the big screen. However, The Girls (Ren and Mici) and I had frequent Girls Night In parties and rented it.

So, you all remember the plot, right? Frances “Baby” Houseman spends the summer at a holiday camp with her family and ends up falling for hunky Johnny Castle, the camp’s dance instructor. Personally, I’ve never considered Patrick Swayze a hottie, but I really loved him in this movie. I remember the scene where she was learning the dance steps for that dance demonstration. It was the three of them, Johnny, Baby and Johnny’s partner, Penny. Baby was sandwiched between the two of them as they danced around the room. Mici, Ren and I were foolish enough to “try that at home” and nearly crashed to the floor. LOL. Apparently, we weren’t coordinated enough for that type of dancing. But we had fun trying.

Like last week’s movie, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, this movie also promotes dancing with a partner, which is why it’s become another favorite. I liked “Girls” because it’s so close to what Jarek and I did for Dance Jam Productions. I love this one even more because the dance style was different and you saw Baby struggle to learn something new. Not to mention the other stuff he taught her after hours. Yow!

Favorite scenes:

~ Baby practicing her moves across the bridge and how she kept messing up before she finally got it.

~ I call it The Water Scene, where they’re practicing the overhead lift in the lake.

~ The end dance scene–OF COURSE–right before he says that corny line,”Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

From what I’ve been hearing, it’s the 20th Anniversary of this movie week and they’re re-issuing the movie again. Celise told me they’re showing it in the theaters again, too, but only for one day; including never-before-seen footage. Never-before-seen footage that’s probably on the original DVD. Or if you buy this 20th Anniversary edition you see here=> dd2.jpg

Next week, I’ll talk about the other Dirty Dancing movie.

So, what’s your favorite dance movie?



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Okay everyone, quiet down please. Quiet….quiet.

I SAID QUIET, PEOPLE!!

Ahem. Thank you.

Now, if you would please open your books to the chapter about the History of Jazz Dance, we can begin:

The root of jazz dance comes from the African American Vernacular Dance from the late 1800s up until the mid 1900s. During the jazz era, popular forms of jazz dance were Cakewalk, Black Bottom, Charleston, Jitterbug, Boogie Woogie, Lindy Hop (a.k.a. Swing), all forms of dance commonly danced to jazz music.

After the 1950s, pioneers such as Kathrine Dunham took the essence of caribbean traditional dance and made it into a performing art.

Since the fifties, with the growing domination of other forms of entertainment music, jazz dance evolved with broadway choregrapher into a new, smooth, modern Broadway style that is taught today and known as Modern Jazz, while tap dance continued to evolve on its own. An early popular “jazz dancer” was vaudeville star Joe Frisco in the 1910s. He danced in a loose-limbed style close to the ground, with eccentric steps, and juggled his derby and cigar.

Jazz dance is a form of dance commonly used in Broadway shows and movies. Jazz is more a contemporary kind of dance as compared to ballet, for instance. Even though jazz dancing might look easy and fun when the dancers do it, the dancers have to be in really good shape, and practice sometimes six hours a day. Some traditional musical jazz numbers are All That Jazz and Chicago.

To excel in jazz dance, the dancer must master ballet techniques. In jazz dancing the movements are big and exaggerated and there is usually an attitude the dancer conveys to the audience. The attitude would depend on the dance. For example in a number like Livin’ La Vida Loca, the dancer would probably be happy, and look like they were at a party having a really rockin’ time. Jazz dancing is also used in modern dancing as on MTV. Las Vegas showgirls are also jazz dancers.

Just about every dance school teaches jazz, as it is the most popular dance form for amateur dancers. The essence of jazz dance is entertainment to the people, a form of dancing which is easy to understand for anyone seeing it. As the famous modern choreographer and pioneer Alvin Ailey said “The dance came from the people, and should always be given back to the people”.

Famous jazz directors and choreographers include Bob Fosse, Gus Giordano, Gwen Verdon, Jack Cole, and Eugene Louis Faccuito (also known as Luigi).

Well known Jazz dances include All That Jazz, Can-can, Damn Yankees, The Red Mill.

~ From Answers.com

The dance routine that Jarek and I came up with for DJP’s Dance-Off segment would probably fall into this category. Possibly even Modern Dance, which we’ll discuss another day.

HOMEWORK QUESTION: Have you seen a Broadway show that uses Jazz dance moves? If so, which ones?



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Plot: Janey (Sarah Jessica Parker) is new in town, and soon meets Lynne (Helen Hunt), who shares her passion for dancing in general, and “Dance TV” in particular. When a competition is announced to find a new Dance TV regular couple, Janey and Lynne are determined to audition. The only problem is that Janey’s father doesn’t approve of that kind of thing.

Does this sound familiar? It should. Celise got the idea for my story, Dance Jam Productions, from this movie. It came out in 1985, so I was too young to see it. However, during a Girls Night In at my house one Friday night, me, Ren and Mici decided to rent it. We were rooting for Janey the whole time and wished her father would get the stick out of his you-know-what. It’s not like she was going to be dancing at a topless bar or something! I mean, c’mon.

Even though Celise liked the idea of a dance show hosting a contest to look for a regular couple, she added different elements to the story. Like, what if the show had two co-hosts instead of one? What if the show was involved in something shady? What if there wasn’t a disgruntled father, but a long buried secret? What if the show offered more than just couples doing dance routines? Besides “Dance TV”, there were elements of MTV’s “The Grind” (dance lessons) and a 80’s show called “Dance Party U.S.A.”–where incidentally, Kelly Ripa of “Live with Regis and Kelly”used to appear–(movie reviews and lip synch routines); My history, as well the history with Ty (my legal guardian at the time), came from a reoccurring dream.

So, what’s your favorite dance movie?



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