Mar 25, 2011

JAM with JAG in April

In honor of April being Jazz Appreciation Month, here are some upcoming events from Columbus' Jazz Arts Group!

SwingColumbus is proud to be a Jazz Academy Community Partner, which means if you're a member of SwingColumbus, you can enjoy discounts to these fantastic workshops and classes.  Check the links for pricing and ticket or registration information. 

The Jazz Academy's COOL SCHOOL: "Cool Jazz on the West Coast" led by Vaughn Wiester
March 27, 2011, 2 PM
Jazz Academy at the Lincoln Theatre (Columbus, OH)

Vaughn Wiester
Cool jazz caught fire on the West Coast, particularly in Los Angeles during 1952 and 1953. Characterized by tight arrangements, restrained sounds and thoughtful solos, the cool jazz era (1948 – 1960) produced great artists and recordings and influenced many styles of music to come. Join Vaughn Wiester to listen to and learn about great musicians such as Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker; groups like the Modern Jazz and the Dave Brubeck Quartet; and, explore the historical context of this influential musical movement.

Jazz Academy's COOL SCHOOL: Birth of the Cool Tour
April 1-30, 2011
Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, OH)

In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month and in partnership with the Jazz Arts Group, the Columbus Museum of Art invites you to take a special Guide-By-Cell tour inspired by the Birth of the Cool. Discover the works of artist Man Ray, Rosemare Bearden, Stephen Longstreet and more. Come be moved by music and art.

The Columbus Museum of Art is open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students ages 6 to 17 and free for children. For more information visit

Jazz Academy's COOL SCHOOL: "Jazz and Poetry" workshop led by William Evans
April 2 & 16, 2011, 4 PM
Thurber House & Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, OH)

William Evans
Explore the relationship of jazz and poetry, its rhythmic and lyrical styles and its historical context, particularly in relationship to the cool jazz period of post-war United States. On Saturday, April 2, join William Evans at the Thurber House and begin writing your own poetry/spoken word. Learn poetry mechanics and basics; create, improvise and explore poetry and music in this unique workshop opportunity. The class will join together again on Saturday, April 16, in the galleries of the Columbus Museum of Art to perform their new written works with a live jazz trio amongst period artwork. Don’t miss this opportunity to express your creativity and spend time with others in this unique workshop format.

Jazz Arts Group's Inside Track series - Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
April 3, 2011, 7:30 PM
Capitol Theatre - Riffe Center (Columbus, OH)

Jazz Arts Group's Inside Track series makes a surprise stop at the Capitol Theatre - Riffe Center on Sunday, April 3 to welcome back 24-year-old New Orleans singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist and all-around musical powerhouse Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews & Orleans Avenue, with special guest Stretch Lefty. Rare indeed is the artist with the virtuosity to draw the unqualified respect of some of the most iconic legends in jazz and the ability to deliver a high-energy funk rock show capable of mesmerizing international rock stars. Surrounding Andrews is his band, Orleans Avenue - Mike Ballard on bass, Pete Murano on guitar, Joey Peebles on drums, Dwayne Williams on percussion and Dan Oestreicher on baritone sax – delivering an explosive, homegrown combination of funk, rock, R&B, jazz and hip-hop they call "Supafunkrock."

Jazz Arts Group's PBJ & Jazz series - Joe Hunter
April 9, 11:00 AM
Lincoln Theatre ballroom (Columbus, OH)

In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, the Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) welcomes the piano stylings of Joe Hunter to the Lincoln Theatre ballroom on April 9 for the season finale of PBJ & Jazz presented by Bob Evans Farms. PBJ & Jazz concerts are 1-hour long interactive concerts designed to introduce jazz and American music to young children and their families. Featuring some of Columbus’ finest musicians and ensembles, PBJ & Jazz concerts are hosted by former Columbus Music Hall owner and retired music educator Rebecca Ogden and are a great introduction to live music for the youngest audience member.

Columbus Jazz Orchestra's "A Night at the Apollo" featuring Marva Hicks
April 13-17, 2011
Southern Theatre (Columbus, OH)

Beg, scream and shout as the CJO pays tribute to the soul of American culture, the Apollo Theater!

The world famous Apollo Theater is so much more than a historic landmark – it is a source of pride and a symbol of brilliance of American artistic accomplishment. With its rich history and continued significance, the Apollo Theater, considered the bastion of African-American culture and achievement, is one of the most fascinating chronicles in American history. We’ll celebrate music greats like Dinah Washington, Gladys Knight, James Brown, Otis Redding, Same Cooke and many others whose careers were launched by this legendary finishing school!

Jazz Academy's COOL SCHOOL: "Birth of the Cool" workshop led by Mark Flugge
April 16, 2011, 2 PM
Jazz Academy at the Lincoln Theatre (Columbus, OH)

Birth of the Cool is the name of a compilation album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, but has come to signify a movement in American music. Cool jazz, which became prominent during the Second World War, stands an important reaction to bebop, (characterized by fast tempos and instrumental virtuosity) in that the music was intricately arranged with a composed sound along with improvised sections. Join Mark Flugge to learn about this important era in American music history – from the arrangements and instrumentation to the historical context and the artists associated with the movement.

Jazz Arts Group's Inside Track series - "Birth of the Cool"
April 29-30, 2011, 8 PM
Lincoln Theatre (Columbus, OH)

As jazz's bebop movement flourished during the late 1940s with its fast-paced rhythms from virtuosos like trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Miles Davis headed off in a new direction. Taking cues from the innovations learned in Parker's group, Davis, along with his nonet, recorded 12 songs in a two-year span that, when released together on one album, became known as Birth of the Cool.

JAG's interpretation of Birth of the Cool will be a recreation of the iconic 1949-50 Miles Davis recording sessions and a retrospective of mid-century art, design, and music. This is a multimedia event in collaboration with and narration by Denny Griffith, president of the Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD), and will feature visual elements, including period furniture, on stage. The performance will include local musician Mark Flugge as musical director and will feature the great Jim Powell on trumpet.

Mar 2, 2011

New Lesson Series Format!

Last October we brought in two awesome Lindy Hop instructors who are part of a dance studio called Studio 88 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  Patrick Szmidt and Natasha Ouimet are really passionate about their teaching methods and after some great long conversations with them about lesson planning and curriculum development we were inspired to take a long look at our own lessons. 
Photo by David Heasley

Our goals are:
  • To make the intermediate classes begin from a higher level
  • To clearly differentiate one series from another
  • To create better swing dancers through strategic skill building
New Swingology Lessons Structure
We now have a beginner level with 3 courses that can be taken in any order, followed by an intermediate level of 4 courses that can also be taken in any order.  Balboa was taken out of our core offerings and basic Charleston was integrated into some of the Lindy Hop classes. 

Beginner Level - Swing 1
No experience required.  All classes begin from scratch and include the basics of frame and connection, a few moves, and some social dance ettiquette.  The two Lindy Hop classes will include different moves to develop your skills for level 2. If you have never taken dance lessons before, we recommend starting with 6-Count Swing before trying Lindy.

Swing 1a Swing 1b Swing 1c
Beginner 6-Count Beginner Lindy Hop Beginner Lindy Hop

Note:  Beginner 6-Count Swing (aka East Coast Swing or Jitterbug) is also taught before each of our Swingin' Tuesdays, as well as before the monthly Saturday dance at the YWCA, so there are lots of chances to learn and practice! 

Photo by David Heasley
Moving up to level 2 isn't just about completing all the level 1 classes - you should feel comfortable with the basics before you move up to level 2, so that we don't need to re-teach the basic steps.  If you're not sure if you're ready to move up, just ask one of our instructors to dance and they can give you feedback.

Intermediate Level - Swing 2
These classes will begin assuming you are comfortable doing the basics of Lindy Hop:  swingout, sendout (swingout from closed position), and Lindy circle.  Rather than starting from scratch, we'll review the basics at a higher level, adding more frame, connection, and momentum concepts to what you already know.  These 4 classes are NOT sequential - take them in any order and feel free to repeat as many times as you want!

All classes will include frame/connection exercises, plenty of moves, mixing of 6 and 8 count patterns, and you'll learn more about Lindy Hop culture and history.  Shown here are just a few examples of moves you'll study in these classes:

Swing 2a Swing 2b Swing 2c Swing 2d
Play it Cool I Will Survive! Let's Get Tricky Connection is Everything
- Slower Tempos
- Switches
- Texas Tommy
- Musicality
- Faster Tempos
- Side by Side Charleston
- Transitions
- Swingout Variations
- Swivels!
- Musicality
- Tandem Charleston
- Moves that challenge your connection
- Sugar Push

In addition to stepping up our lesson series, we are committing to offer more frequent crash courses and mini-workshops so that we can bring you more opportunities to learn 6-Count and Lindy Hop.  We'll also offer workshops covering Balboa, Blues, and Charleston to expand your swing vocabulary.
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