Every year the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival brings together music lovers from all around. However, the festival is for more than just music buffs. This year, 16 different dance workshops will be offered to those who want to learn to move to the music.
A commemorative Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival button is the only purchase needed to gain access to any of the dance workshops.
Led by University of Idaho faculty, guest artists and specialty dance instructors, there are a variety of workshops to choose from for spectators as well as those participating in the Jazz Festival.
The dance genres included in the workshop schedule cover ballroom, Latin, tap, jazz, hip-hop and more.
Belle Baggs, a Clinical Assistant professor of Movement Sciences and the co-program coordinator of the UI dance program, said the main goal of the dance workshops is to offer a myriad of classes and genres.
Baggs will be teaching the “All That Jazz!” workshop on the Thursday and Friday of the Festival. This particular workshop will center on the rhythm and energy that the jazz dancing has to offer.
“I have taught it for the past few years, and this particular form is just one of many that we offer during the festival,” Baggs said.
Baggs said most students who engage in Jazz Fest usually gravitate more toward the musical side of the festival, but with so many dance workshop options they get the chance to not only listen to the music but move to it.
“I really do focus on the dynamics of the movement, which is really fun for me,” Baggs said. “Oftentimes when I teach I will use my voice to emphasize the qualities of jazz.”
Baggs said jazz is very involved with the music and is stylized in a way that matched the beat of the music.
“Jazz is a very versatile style of dance,” Baggs said. “It is showy and flashy, and it really has a sense of hotness and coldness to it.”
Baggs” workshop will explore the energetic rhythm of jazz movements.
“I really want to try and help students in the workshop to make an effort to let themselves stand out, inside of the dancing,” Baggs said.
Ben Devaud, an instructor for the hip-hop and b-boying dance workshop, also said the best part of dancing is the room for artistry and variability.
“Both hip-hop and breaking are codified in a way, but everyone has a different take on what they do with the movement,” Devaud said.
Devaud said he is excited to teach the hip-hop and b-boying workshop with fellow dance instructor Jessi Brown.
The hip-hop and b-boying dance workshop will be taught six different times during the festival.
Devaud said even though hip-hop and b-boying seem electric and free, they both carry close ties to jazz music.
“Even though it may not seem like it on the outside, breaking and hip-hop both have a very intimate relationship with jazz and funk music, even with artists like James Brown,” Devaud said. “It is all in the feeling of the music.”
Devaud said participants in this workshop should be excited and ready to move.
“I like that there is always a mix of knowledge levels and people,” Devaud said. “I am just happy to share what I love to do with everyone who comes.”
In past dance workshops during the Jazz Festival, the turnout of participants has been outstanding. Baggs said that there have been up to 300 dancers of all ages in a studio at once.
Any age and skill level is welcome to join all of the workshops.
Baggs said that is very special to have the diversity the festival brings every year inside of the dance studio.
“The arts bring people together,” Baggs said. “Jazz Fest is a time to celebrate and move.”
Details regarding the types, times, dates and places of each dance workshop can be found at http://www.uidaho.edu/class/jazzfest/calendar/workshops