UA dance kicks off their performance season with 'Jazz in AZ'

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Courtesy of UA Dance

This Tuesday, UA Dance presents its first public performance, “Jazz in AZ,” a one act and one hour high energy blitz of jazz dance. The show is part of the Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase and is celebrating its 25th year of bringing excellent jazz dance to Arizona.

The style of dance may mean something slightly different to each individual dancer, but one thing everyone agrees on—it’s just fun.

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Theatrical, over-the-top vibrancy exudes from the performers as the dancers slide, leap and stomp across the stage. Watching the performance, it is difficult to resist smiling.

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“My favorite part is the high energy,” said dance senior Elena Carter. “It’s fun to dance.”

Aaron Smith, a dance graduate student and self-proclaimed "jazzerina," explains what draws him to jazz.

“The stylistic side to it allows more of your personality to shine through,” Smith said.

Certainly personality is something none of the dancers are short of. During tech rehearsal at the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, the dancers streched, sang, cracked up at Snapchats and did flips in the corner like it was effortless.

The energy in the room was contagious, but the energy on stage was mesmerizing.

“It’s the style that my body adapts to,” said dance junior DeQuan Lewis. “It’s the energy—it’s a lot of fun.”

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However, the personality and warm smiles spilling from the stage aren’t all that get into jazz dance. Clearly, the style shares roots with jazz music, but the two are not mutually exclusive.

“Jazz dance and jazz music play with different rhythms,” said choreographer and dance professor Michael Williams.

Williams has years of professional dance experience as well as a degree in music education, and within “Jazz in AZ,” he is attempting not so much to choreograph dance moves to jazz music, but rather to recreate the rhythmic structure that defines jazz.

From the sexy, chair-stomping “ITZaJAZZthing!” to the epic and inspiring “Rising,” the somewhat short performance promises to pack an incredible array of technique, enthusiasm and emotion into every step.

“JAZZ in AZ” is the first performance of the season and can be seen from Sept. 27-29 at the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre.


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