Performances: Just Tap Presents SOLE Defined

INTERSECTIONS: A New America Arts Festival starts February 23rd at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in NE DC. The festival includes 12 days of dance, music, theater and spoken word performances at reasonable prices. Some of this year’s performances featured in the dance genre include alight dance theater, DancEthos and Glade Dance Collective’s Trio of Perspectives, DCypher Dance’s Access Granted, Furia Flamenca’s Los Caminos del Flamenco and Just Taps’ SOLE Defined. I met up with Quynn Johnson, Director of Just Tap, to find out what they have in store for their show.

 

What can audience members expect from SOLE Defined? Any significance in the title of the show?

The audience can expect a fun, exciting, crazy rhythmic performance. Really outside of the box for a tap show. As a tap dancer I’m always asked, “Where does tap come from?” or “Are you a rhythm tap dancer or Broadway tap dancer?” It’s like people want to define it so they know what box to put the dance in. With this show, I’m saying that there is no one thing that defines the sole of a tap dancer. The influences come from so many different places and styles of music. It’s the way that we express ourselves.

What aspect of the show are you most excited about?

There are so many things about the show I’m excited about. I can’t name just one. We’ve created a sand dance that will be accompanied by an awesome Grammy nominated performing artist Christylez Bacon. We have a special guest, Ryan Johnson, from the Off-Broadway show STOMP, presenting tap fused with body percussion. We’re intersecting the roots of tap with West African dance to be performed with special guest Lesina Martin, and we have an amazing singer and live band, The Akua Allrich Quartet, to bring some hot jazz and funk to the show.

Why did you want to get involved with the INTERSECTIONS festival?

I think the INTERSECTIONS Festival is an awesome way for emerging and established artists to present their stories to a larger audience, many of whom may not have seen a tap show before. INTERSECTIONS also gives the artist an opportunity to push the boundaries of their creativity and that’s definitely what we’re doing. With the INTERSECTIONS festival, Just Tap will be bringing the dance to you in a way that makes it accessible for anyone. Young or old, you’re gonna walk away loving what you saw.

The Deets

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Janet Jackson Dance Workshop at Joy of Motion/Atlas

Quynn Johnson taught a Janet Jackson dance workshop at Joy of Motion/Atlas last Friday, October 1st. Even though it was a Friday night, there were still plenty of dancers in attendance. About 30 people of all ages and experience levels came to learn choreography from some of Janet’s most popular videos including Together Again, If and Pleasure Principle.

Just like the Lady Gaga dance workshop Quynn taught back in July, there was a lot of choreography to take in. Most people were both mentally and physically drained by the end of the workshop, but everyone seemed to have a great time. Unlike last time, she did a short warm up to other Janet Jackson songs and had us switch lines a few times so everyone could have a chance up front. She also split us up into two groups so we had more room to “perform” at the end.

I would have personally liked to have learned choreography from Janet Jackson’s Nasty Boys, Rhythm Nation and All For You, but maybe next time? And perhaps Quynn will take my suggestion to teach a pop dance workshop based on Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears videos?! What can I say? I’m a teenie bopper at heart.

If you’re interested in seeing what choreography we learned at the Janet Jackson dance workshop, watch the videos below. I’ve given the times so you can identify which parts we did.

Together Again (0:40-1:12)

If (3:36-3:58)

Pleasure Principle (3:14-3:30 and 2:41-2:48)

danceDC Weekend Event Guide 10/1-10/3

Tonight I’ll be at Joy of Motion/Atlas for Quynn Johnson’s Janet Jackson Dance Workshop. I already know part of the choreography from the If video, but looking forward to see what other videos Quynn has in store. Rhythm Nation perhaps? Pleasure Principle?!  I’m also planning on heading to the Crafty Bastards Art Festival in Adams Morgan for the all day breakdance battle. And if that wasn’t enough, I’ll be at the prelude ceremony to the MetroDC Dance Awards at the Kennedy Center this Sunday. Hope your weekend is full of dance. 

Friday, October 1st

Saturday, October 2nd

Sunday, October 3rd

Dance at the 2010 H Street Festival

Last Saturday’s H Street Festival offered tons of food, music and fun. There was the chance to arm wrestle a DC Roller Girl, sing karaoke at Sticky Rice, play air guitar with the Baltimore Rock Opera Society and of course DANCE. I took a free class at 4pm with Quynn Johnson at Joy of Motion’s studio in the Atlas Performing Arts Center. She previewed two of her upcoming pop video dance workshops including part of Janet Jackson’s ‘If’ video (shown below) and Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’ She even did a throw back to her previous Lady Gaga workshop by teaching choreography to ‘Alejandro.’

After taking some quick pics of the cars in front of Atlas, I made my way to the Sprenger Theatre for a performance from Step Afrika! From start to finish, this stepping group had the crowd clapping, yelling and dancing. They started off with a couple ensemble routines then had an entertaining battle of the sexes with two guys and two girls fighting it out (through dance of course) for the audience. The girls won, no question. Before Step Afrika! wrapped up their free performance they had everyone on their feet to learn some basic stepping moves. They even had an encore combination to dance the group off stage after their bows.

Did you catch any of the dance performances and demonstrations at the H Street Festival? If so, tell us about them in your comments. For more videos of Step Afrika!, check out my YouTube page.

Gaga 4 Gaga Dance Workshop at Joy of Motion/Atlas

Joy of Motion hosted a Gaga 4 Gaga dance workshop at their studio in the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street last night from 7pm-9pm.  About 40 girls and one lucky guy filled the studio to learn choreography to a medley of Lady Gaga songs.

Quynn Johnson skipped over warmup and jumped into choreography right away.  And good thing she did!  Almost the entire two hours was needed to teach four short combos to some of Gaga’s greatest hits – Telephone, Alejandro, Papparazzi and LoveGame.

She didn’t change lines at all which I was surprised about, but another workshop attendee said that Quynn told dancers who got their early to claim their spots since the space was likely to fill up.

By the time she finished teaching the entire dance, several girls were already sitting out and a little more than half of the students ended up doing the final combination.  We only had about 10 minutes left at that point so we only got to perform a couple times.  I think Quynn lifted a lot of spirits though when she provided masks for us to dance with.  I didn’t get a chance to tape the combination, but they mentioned that videos will be posted to the Joy of Motion YouTube page.

If you’re Gaga 4 Gaga, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite videos – LoveGame.  At the 0:54 second mark, you’ll see Ian McKenzie who previously choreographed for the company I danced with in Boston and whose classes at Jeanette Neil’s were always dope.  Another fun fact, he used to dance with Static Noyze – who was just on the latest season of America’s Best Dance Crew.  Now he dances for the haus of Gaga.  Dreams do come true!  Enjoy.

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