So you don’t think you can dance.
That might all change after taking-in one J.A.M. Session at the Ford Amphitheatre this summer.
With some of the best dancers and choreographers in town taking on the role as dance instructors, the opportunity to learn is available…and free. It’s just one more reason why Hollywood is hopping.
The Monday night J.A.M. (“Jazzed and Motivated”) events started last month and will continue through September 24th. Each week a unique cultural experience, fit for folks of all ages, is offered; the emphasis is on getting people to participate, whether through movement, music or drumming.
Supported in part by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation, the next J.A.M. session at the Ford will feature members of J.U.i.C.E. (Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy), a non-profit hip-hop collective that was founded back in 2001. For more than ten years, the group has been instrumental in providing young people with a means of creative expression, including hip-hop dance classes and performances.
Come Monday night, J.U.i.C.E. associates will be giving all attendees the lowdown on jerking and shuffling. Then, with New Jack Swing in the house, everyone will have the chance to strut his or her stuff under the stars above.
Said Heather Rigby, General Manager of Production for J.A.M., besides giving people access to the arts, the program gets people directly involved. Although some patrons enjoy simply watching, for the most part, the majority of people DO get up and dance.
This is the fourth year that J.A.M. sessions are being held at the Ford. What is new, however, is that the program has been substantially expanded to include five additional locations, explained Rigby. With a grant from Metabolic Studio, the culturally diverse interactive events are now also featured at: East L.A. Civic Center, San Fernando Recreation Park, Santa Clarita Old Town Newhall, Whittier Mayberry Park and Willowbrook MLK MACC.
Although hip-hop dance is generally associated with those who are young, everyone is invited to the upcoming J.U.i.C.E. celebration, Rigby said.
Of course, not everyone will be able to dazzle with those upside-down spins, gravity-defying flips and ever-cool freezes. Yet with a lot of practice, who knows?
Next week, the feature film ”Step Up Revolution”, starring Kathryn McCormick (of SYTYCD fame) in her lead film debut, will open nationwide, asserting that everything hip-hop has become a viable commodity.
So too, over the next several weeks, as J.U.i.C.E gets ready for its Fifth Annual Hip-Hop Dance Festival, dedicated young dancers will be painstakingly rehearsing cutting-edge hip-hop moves meant to wow.
Assuredly, they will.
Oh yeah. It is inspiring.
And there’s still room on the dance floor.
(J.U.i.C.E. performs from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. on Monday, July 23rd, at the Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd, East, located in Hollywood 90068. Click here for directions. Free tickets are available (and recommended) at the J.A.M. website or simply show up. Parking for these special J.A.M. sessions is also free. For additional information call: (323) 461-3673.)