On Saturday, October 2nd, my favorite dancer of all time performed in Camden, Maine. Billy Siegenfeld, the founder and director of the Chicago based dance company Jump Rhythm Jazz Project performed with his entire company. I first took classes from Billy in the late 1970's in Minnesota when he was dancing with the Don Redlich modern dance company. I later moved to New York city in hopes of dancing with Billy one day, and....it did happen. I love this man.
This posting is an appreciation of what he does, not a review.
Think tap dance without tap shoes, it's got all that exciting syncopation. It's drumming without the drum set and sticks. The beats are within the arms, legs and torso, it all combines to make a lush rhythm. There is vocal sound without songs. The dancers are doing a sort of scat singing while they dance. It's quirky and complex and it doesn't quite make sense but it moves you because of the power of the rhythm. On top of it all it's cool modern dance movement and skilled choreography with all that rhythm. Sigenfeld is a great storyteller. He and his dancers show a great amount of joy when they perform, it's the kind of full bodywork that exudes electricity, vibrancy and humanity. These are performers who look to connect to the audience, they are not removed or aloof they are really showbiz without the dazzle.
If you get to Chicago check this company out or take a dance class with Sigenfeld if you're ready to find your rhythm mojo.
Jump Rhythm Jazz Project performed at the Camden Hills Regional High School Strom Auditorium