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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Jazz in AZ’ brings musical sass to masses

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    The UA Dance Repertory will host people from all over the country at its Jazz Dance Showcase this week. While people outside the School of Dance are not permitted attend the showcase, there are previews today and tomorrow where all jazz enthusiasts will be welcome.

    “”The concert that we’re doing for the public is part of this Jazz Dance Showcase that we’re doing on the weekend,”” said Michael Williams, professor of dance.

    The concert opens with a piece called “”Against the Current”” by Mia Michaels.

    “”It is a contemporary jazz piece with 10 dancers, and I’m the soloist,”” said Cameo Cross, a dance senior.

    “”The second number is something by one of our faculty members, Sam Watson,”” Williams said. “”It’s called ‘The Big Put-On.’ It’s a reverse strip tease. A male dancer starts in his underwear and throughout the dance he puts his clothes on.””

    The third piece is a jazz piece, danced on ballet pointe shoes.

    “”The third number is called ‘Sabor a Mi,’ which is Spanish for ‘taste me,’ “” Williams said, “”and it’s done by (faculty member) Susan Quinn. It’s Latin and it’s sassy and hot.””

    “”‘Sabor a Mi’ ‘is my favorite because we get to be up on pointe,”” Cross said. “”It has kind of a Spanish, sensual flair. It’s eight ladies, and we get to be very playful.””

    “”The fourth number was choreographed by one of our dancers that graduated last year, and it’s called ‘A Modern Man,'”” Williams said. “”It’s actually George Carlin doing a comedy monologue and the dancer used that as their jumping off point for the choreography. It’s very funny and really lighthearted and great.””

    The next performance, “”Rats,”” harkens back to Las Vegas in the 1960s.

    “”It’s music from the Rat Pack — Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin,”” Williams said. “”It was choreographed by Douglas Nielsen; he is one of our faculty members here as well. It’s very much keeping in line with that late-’50s, early-’60s time where the Rat Pack was hot in Vegas.””

    “”The last number I choreographed, and it’s kind of a fusion of tap done in a hip-hop-y way,”” Williams said. “”The music is all a cappella beat box score. It’s really unusual from the sound point of view. The name of the piece is ‘Rhythm Schism.’ There are 15 tap dancers and it’s just wild and crazy.””

    Cross defines this piece as a funky tap number.

    When choreographing “”Rhythm Schism,”” Williams wanted to present tap in a way that was unlike the typical tap style.

    “”With ‘Rhythm Schism,’ I wanted to do something that had not really been done with tap before in terms of style, because tap is associated with a ’40s feel,”” Williams said. “”I wanted to take an opportunity to do some intricate tap work but put it in a new framework.””

    Cross is dancing in three numbers, all with very different nuances. However, she enjoys the chance to dance in the diversity.

    “”It’s actually very fun. It’s nice to be able to do such variety all in one weekend,”” she said. “”I do a little ballet jazz, some earthy contemporary, and then some funky, entertaining hip-hop tap.””

    Both think that the concert is something that everyone would enjoy.

    “”The jazz showcase concert is always very entertaining,”” Cross said. “”It has lots of jazz and tap and very upbeat pieces. It’s a very short, sweet, and entertaining show.””

    “”It’s really appealing,”” Williams said. “”It’s one hour, it’s one act. It’s high paced, high energy, fun. It’s not really hard to figure out what it all means. It’s great music, it’s great movement, and it’s not necessarily trying to tell a story that is hard to understand. It’s a good time. It’s entertaining.””

    The preview of “”Jazz in AZ”” will be Oct. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit

    web.cfa.arizona.edu/dance.

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