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Jump Rhythm Jazz Project

June 25 and 26 concerts to feature three world premieres by Emmy-winning ensemble

June 14, 2011 | by Judy Moore
Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, a Chicago-based, Emmy Award-winning dance theater company will perform at the Josephine Louis Theater on June 25 and June 26. 

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Chicago-based Emmy Award-winning dance company Jump Rhythm Jazz Project celebrates its 21st season with an exuberant mix of pop and jazz music and vocal-rhythmic dance theater at Northwestern University this summer.

Under the artistic direction of Jump Rhythm Jazz Project (JRJP) founder, principal choreographer and performing ensemble member and School of Communication dance professor Billy Siegenfeld, the group will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 25, and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 26, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. 

Part of the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern’s SummerStage 2011 season, the concerts will feature two world premieres by Siegenfeld and a new work by JRJP principal dancer Kristina Kasper as well as audience favorites from the JRJP repertory. 

The Saturday performance will include a free pre-show discussion at 7 p.m. with Siegenfeld and Chicago arts writer and dance critic Lucia Mauro followed by a 9:30 p.m. post-show “Jump Rhythm” anniversary toast to the company’s next 20 years hosted by Northwestern faculty member Bernard J. Dobroski

Siegenfeld will premiere vocal and percussion arrangements for “The Sumptuous Screech of Simplicity,” a two-part blues-infused romp using two versions of the Isley Brothers’ hit, “It’s Your Thing.” 

Siegenfeld’s new choreography and vocal arrangements for “There Never Was A War That Was Not Inward,” is his response to poet Marianne Moore’s anti-war meditation “In Distrust of Merits.” This work fuses an a cappella chant based on Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things” with a frenzy of high-speed, sharply-accented body gestures performed to OutKast’s driving “B.O.B.” and a song-and-dance arrangement of “Stay in My Arms,” written by American composer Marc Blitzstein for his dying wife.

Kasper’s “Same Old Shaggy Dress” is a sizzling tap-danced short story about flirtation, love, betrayal and hope. Performed to Otis Redding’s soulful vocals, this amusing new piece pits a group of women against the antics of a lady’s man. 

The company’s repertory work includes Siegenfeld’s comedic 2010 work “Why Gershwin?” a rapturous and cantankerous romance done to a funky James Brown tune; JRJP artistic advisor and company dancer Jeannie Hill’s revival of “For Buster,” a tap poem to her personal mentor and inspiration, the late tap dancer Buster Brown; principal dancer Kevin Durnbaugh’s “A Shot in the Dark,” a spoken word “tutorial” on rhythm; and Siegenfeld’s “god of dirt,” choreographed to the “earthy“ folk songs of Serbo-Croatian composer Goran Bregovic. 

Single tickets are $10 to $20 and group discounts are available. Tickets and SummerStage 2011 subscriptions are available through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or online at www.tic.northwestern.edu.

Topics: Campus Life