What a Jazz Festival – a jazz dance and music festival which due to the COVID-19 situation this year will take place online. Our main goal this year is to not only inspire dancers but also to help teachers to inspire their students. Thus, What a Jazz Festival 2020 will not only focus on open lindy hop and solo jazz classes but will have a separate Teacher’s training module where the focus of classes will be turned to expanding teachers’ knowledge of class preparation and structure within. This training module is open for everyone from aspiring new teachers to community leaders. So on November 13th – 15th, 2020 join our little adventure with these amazing educators:

Dr. Marie N’diaye (PhD) is a Jazz Dance choreographer, performer and educator as well as a dance researcher. She specialises in Jazz Dance (African American Vernacular Jazz) and its partnered form (Lindy Hop), focusing on the legacy of Harlem dancers from the Savoy Ballroom as well as the chorus line tradition from night clubs and theater (such as the Apollo Theater, the Cotton Club, Connie’s Inn…) and has applied her scientific method and dance education to conduct an embodied practice-based research of Jazz dance through the study of original video clips and collaborations with established dancers.

Sep Vermeersch. It’s all about the ‘jazz’ process with Sep: historical context, swingin’ hard and expressing your own style. Be ready to be immersed in an intense experience where you will be invited to expand your dancing comfort zone. Sep Vermeersch is a passionate swing dance expert. Based in Ghent he teaches locally for Crazy Legs Dance School or runs events for LouisLou. Most weekends Sep was invited around the world to teach Lindy Hop, Authentic Jazz or Blues at renowned dance festivals. But now he keeps spreadin’ the jazz message locally or beyond in online classes, lectures or out of the box concepts.

Helena Kanini Kiiru is a young dancer and teacher based in Zagreb, Croatia, where she teaches solo jazz. She started off as a hip hop dancer at the age of 10, and after 8 years of practicing various street styles, she fell in love with lindy hop. Very quickly she found passion for solo jazz, especially the raw style of authentic jazz pioneers. Her talent was recognized at JazzRoots 2018 where she won both solo and showcase competitions. She stood out due to her unique style, charisma and authenticity. Now she teaches internationally and enjoys spreading her love for solo jazz.

Joyss. “Before starting to cook (mix styles), you should perfectly know your ingredients (dances you take inspirations from).” Joyss is well known for his multi-artistic experience. He comes from the Hip-hop Culture, where the mission of every dancer is to raise your own style and respect all inspirations without taking off any nature of it. In his classes Joyss emphasizes improving students movements by teaching them how to better understand their own bodies, foster coordination, balance and expression.

Gustav & Laia will teach you how to make every step count! Laia’s teaching is focused on getting followers to participate actively and with a strong rhythm in the dance. Gustav is all about rhythm and flow.

Apart from all online classes and lectures happening on Saturday (14th Nov) and Sunday (15th Nov), on Friday (13th Nov) we have a free Musicality Class by The Shirt Tail Stompers followed by their special concert and The Steven Coombe Show. It will be live-streamed on What a Jazz Facebook page.

The Shirt Tail Stompers have been recognised as one of Europe’s best social dance bands. Formed in 2010 for the London Lindy Exchange and led by Trumpeter Steve Coombe, they have played numerous dance camps and shows in over 25 countries all over the world. They have a passion for swing music and movement, with their extensive knowledge and experience of social dancing, they are definitely the band to dance to in 2020. This ‘special edition’ is going to feature Double Bass maestra Jen Hodge, the amazing Brad Shigeta (Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra, Illinois Jacquet Big Band) on Trombone and Lindy Hop scene veteran Solomon Douglas on Piano.

The musicality class with Steven Coombe and the Shirt Tail Stompers will focus on learning the different forms of swing music and the roles of the instruments. Also, how to use your ears to bring your dancing closer to the music. From listening to individual instruments, understanding the importance of melody and how to react to dynamics; this fun and interactive class will open your eyes and ears to a world of new possibilities in your dancing.

What a Jazz Festival is part of the Swinging Europe Network project which is co-funded by the Executive Agency Education, Audiovisual and Culture (EACEA) through the Europe Creative programme of the EU.