Every year, Southern Methodist University jazz dance professor Danny Buraczeski (DT, March 2002) greets a new crop of students who don't know anything about jazz dance or music. "Ninety percent of them come from competition schools--they can do fantastic tricks, and they dance to lyrics," he says. "And every year I find it takes a little longer to sink in that jazz dance is one of America's greatest contributions to our culture."
In response, he created the Teaching Jazz Dance Symposium in 2012--a three-day event of classes and presentations devoted to the relevance of jazz dance, this year held at SMU, June 16–18. "I thought it was important to get everyone who loves jazz dance and music together to have an in-depth conversation about what we're doing--what's working, what's not working," says Buraczeski. "It's pretty much for our survival."
Cathy Young, The Boston Conservatory dance division director, will lecture on jazz dance pedagogy, and Bob Boross of Shenandoah Conservatory will teach a technique class in the style of jazz legend Matt Mattox. Participation will be capped at 25.
Photo by Kim Ritzenthaler Leeson, courtesy of SMU