We were excited to see some old friends and make some new ones at jAZZfEST 2012 at Cary Ballet. This year we welcomed back Susan Quinn (FL), Jimmy Locust (CT), and Annalisia Simone (LA). We were delighted to friend César Rubio Degollado (AZ)! And were proud to welcome to the faculty side CBC & The 3D Project alumna Gretchen LaWall who has recently added University of Arizona School of Dance graduate, certified Pilates instructor and River North Apprentice to her credits!
Here is a look into jAZZfEST from our Jazz Director Darra Gasper.
In studio A, Cesar Degollado gives a physically intense yet beautifully fluid contemporary combination to advanced dancers while in Studio D, Susan Quinn explains to the the 9-10 year old students the importance of proper technique for pirouettes. Over in the CBC Annex, Jimmy Locust is throwing down some hot commercial jazz on the 6-8 year old age group while Annalisia Simone is encouraging a young dancer to come out of her shell and strive for her dreams. This is just a typical hour in a day of the week that is jAZZfEST. During the festival master teachers from all over the country can be found at CBC changing dancers lives, encouraging them to go for their dreams and pushing them past every limit they can find.
The week culminated with the jAZZfEST informal showcase performance. In front of a packed audience the dancers show what they had learned throughout the festival. Each group performed a combination, a hip hop routine and an original work choreographed by a jAZZfEST faculty member over the course of the week. Group A performed a beautiful contemporary work choreographed by Cesar. Group B’s had a hot jazz routine choreographed by Jimmy. Group C gave a touching rendition of Annalisia’s choreography. Group D turned on the funk with a hip hop dance created by Ronnie West and Group E delighted the audience with an energetic and upbeat jazz dance choreographed by jAZZfEST director Darra Gasper.
Show stealers were the 6-8 year olds who came out and did a great number choreographed by CBC Alumna Tori Junell. A highlight of the showcase were performances by members of the faculty- the heartwarming and uplifting solo danced by Jimmy Locust which brought the audience to tears; high energy hip hop by Ronnie; and a stunning duet between Cesar and Gretchen.
Over 110 dancers from around the country converged on CBC for this celebration of Jazz Dance. Every day they participated in classes ranging from contemporary and lyrical dance to commercial jazz and hip hop. Mix in a daily ballet class, add a little improv and some original choreography and the studio was awash in excitement from early morning until late afternoon.