BJP brings both creative process and movement practice into the studio through master classes, workshops, and residencies.
BJP’s teaching practice is based in a fervent passion for movement, articulate language creating passages into complex material(s), and a learning environment that bridges welcoming playfulness with rigorous work ethic. BJP’s full teaching philosophy.
Ignite the physical and cultivate the conceptual. A contemporary practice of roving through contemporary practices involving technical rigor, artistic clarity, rhythmic acuity, improvisational research, and somatic awareness. We will start on the floor (centering, warming, welcoming), press through the space (traveling, spiraling, harnessing momentum) and culminate with phrases that push performance and perseverance. We will invest in the fullness of our bodies, test our relationship with gravity, play with the edges of musicality, and cultivate detail within instinct. Together, we seek to bolden our individual voices while honing ensemble awareness.
Part listening, part engaging, partner the body and space. Move through a progression of partnering skills into a shaped phrase where body meets body.
Jazz dance is a patriotic act. As an American art form, jazz dance brings us into an embodied experience of the country’s tumultuous history involving the systematic oppression of peoples from the African Diaspora. Specifically, Jazz is firmly rooted in the rhythmic traditions of West Africa, with strong influences from Latin America, Ireland and beyond. Deep study of jazz dance history in relationship to my movement practice yields a daily questioning of my role, place, and validity in this art form as a white woman. I constantly wrestle with the historical implications of jazz dance, the appropriation and transformation of the form over time, and what kind of “jazz” is being taught and performed in our country today.
What is jazz? We know that multiple practitioners define the form through its relationship to jazz music. What is jazz music? How have these two inherently interwoven dance forms progressed? Nuevo jazz, contemporary jazz, popular jazz, post jazz…. How many ways can we say new? Specifically, what is my jazz practice?
I approach jazz through three pillars; relationship with rhythm, relationship with others and relationship with the ground. When we address rhythm, we’re recognizing musicality, swing, and accenting and syncopation. Jazz’s relationship to others encompasses the improvisational underpinnings, social tradition, and conversational nature with sound and fellow dancers .Jazz’s relationship to the ground involves—specifically for my work—the how the dancer’s pelvis relates to the earth, weight shift and momentum.
My singular body trains and engages with movement across the range of the jazz dance canon – historical vernacular, social dance, urban/hip hop forms, African dance, musical theatre, and tap. Also, my practice in contemporary dance, improvisation and ballet is held within this body. Therefore, whenever I am dance I am pull on the knowledge from all of these embodied practices.
Therefore, my jazz dance practice rooted through the three pillars while honoring the multiplicity of embodied knowledge within my body, the dancers’ bodies, and the form itself. Jazz is a form of innovation, however it is not without purity or definition. I see the label of “jazz” applied to many movement styles, which brings me pause and concern for the lack of recognition and respect for the history from which the music and movement was developped. Innovative art does not mean that every fusion-esque approach should bear the name of jazz. Therefore, I choose to refer to my specific practice with language that is unique to my specific approach. The foundation, or the base, of my practice is built on the embodiment of pulse, or groove.
Base Groove: rooted in rhythm, we physicalize the pulse inherent within the diverse lineage and impact of jazz music and movement. Through contemporary blends of traditional jazz music and steps, we will focus on emphasizing quality, style, technique and musicality.
HARDWARE STORE HIGH ART
If you’re like us, you most likely don’t have an endless supply of cash to make your artistic dreams come true. You have to stretch your resources as far as they can go. One way to do so is to hit up the hardware store. Come hang with Evan Anderson (lighting), Garrett Johnson (responsive media) and Britta Joy Peterson (dance) and we’ll explore ways to creatively utilize the resources that Corporate America is willing to let you return.
Step into the process through lecture/demonstration. BJP presents work through lectures involving demos that are movement-based, process-based, story-telling, video, and technology. With +++, the team presents technology-based lec/dems that include technology and responsive media-based demonstrations and content as they relate to dance practices.
BJP works with artists, both professionals as a consultant, and students as a mentor/advisor on creative projects through rehearsal visits, formal feedback, adjudication, and full-process advising formats.
PROPELLING PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE PROJECT or P^4
The Propelling Professional Performance Project, also known as P^4, brought four professional dance artists and students together for a three week residency to work alongside one another. Together, the professionals and students create and perform a new dance work under BJP’s choreographic direction. Through direct engagement with professionals in the research, creation, and performance phases of dance making – they are able to rapidly progress as performers. During this immersive role-modeling process, the professionals also engage with students by attending social events, teaching classes, and performing in Show + Tell and Movement Speaks. P^4 provides students with a multi-faceted performing arts opportunity that enriches their education both inside the classroom through access to artists from multiple perspectives, targeted career oriented education via development of performance skills in rehearsal and in performance, and provided a base for professional development by giving students the opportunity to create a network of dance and music professionals across the country.
Reactions from 2016 Participants:
“I have grown as a performer from my participation. I feel much more connected with dance, music, and the power of genuine performance.”
“The professional’s presence absolutely impacted my learning throughout the rehearsals. It was so beneficial to watch how a professional dancer works behind the scenes. We often only get to see them in performance and rarely or never in rehearsals. It was so eye opening to watch their work practice, and their preparation for performance and rehearsals. I was able to see the way they prepare and work and how it directly impacts the way they perform and then apply it to my own practice.”
“The pros [syc] brought a very mature, fun, inclusiveness with them that really made learning easier. Also just leading by example really had an impact on me as a musician and a performer.”
“A valuable lesson I learned is dealing with collaboration. Everyone wants to be heard but it takes practice to filter all the information to produce the most useful information.”
“The professionals taught me so much and I was eager to learn from them every single day. They taught me about dance and what the real world is like for artists. Everyday they came into class, rehearsal, or even just to hang out and were completely open about their struggles and achievements.”
“I have learned so much from the professionals outside of the performance process about the professional world. From a conversation with one of them, I learned about aesthetics, conferences and festivals, how to make connections, and the importance of figuring out what is valuable to you. I talked to another professional about the future and they said, “I still wake up every morning and ask myself what I want to be when I grow up.” It is relieving to hear that we are all going through the same things.”
–2016 P^4 Student Participants
MOVEMENT SPEAKS: conversations about dance
A curated series of lecture/demonstrations by BJP, currently hosted at American University. Dance Artists open the choreographic laboratory to discuss their work, their process, and their research.
Recent, select professional teaching –
2018, Montclair University
2017, University of Maryland
2017, Breaking Ground Contemporary Dance Festival – Tempe, AZ
2017, [nueBOX] – Mesa, AZ
2016, ASU Synthesis Center, Tempe – AZ
2016, University of Wyoming
2016, Danca Nova – Casper, WY
2015, National Great Teachers Seminar – Hilo, HI
2015, Edina Performing Arts Center – Edina, MN
2014, University of Northern Colorado – Greely
2014, Velocity Dance Center – Seattle WA
2014, The Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Arts – Minneapolis, MN
2014, The Movement Lab – Minneapolis, MN