Music: Michelle Barber

Barber's jazz class is influenced by all the styles she has studied.

Michelle Barber grew up studying jazz dance in Ohio, before moving to New York City to begin training under and working for Frank Hatchett and Sheila Barker. Now, she teaches weekly classes at Broadway Dance Center, where she's created her own brand of movement, incorporating the different styles that fall under the umbrella of jazz dance.

Class begins with a high-energy song to help students start moving and get their blood pumping during warm-up. Barber's musical variety is reflected in her class combinations, which frequently mix classical jazz with more lyrical, funky or theatrical movement. “I want my students to learn how to blend styles, but do all of that with a very strong technical base," she says, noting that she spends a lot of time outside of class making sure her choreography connects to the music. “I'm big on performance and really putting your heart and soul into dance, not just doing the steps. I want my students to have that feeling of release when it all clicks and feels good, and you just let go." DT

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Photo (top) by April Cook, courtesy of Broadway Dance Center

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