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february | joanne baker interview

Updated: Apr 17

Our extra interview this month came in the form of a very thought provoking interview with one of Decidely Jazz Dancework's leadership team, Joanne Baker. Joanne dives head first (and with respect) into the company's definition of jazz and what she believes is lacking in today's current iteration of the style.

A quote shared from Joanne after this discussion...


"Jazz at its core is not a check list. It is community, it is joy, it is expression, it is embodiment of the music. Sometimes, we can get caught up in checking off the boxes to ensure that it 'looks right', rather than ensuring that it feels right. The acknowledgement of the history is a journey, so worthwhile, but like any great journey, it is not a destination alone that fills our souls, but the journey itself. I don’t think I’ll ever reach the 'jazz history end point'. There is so much to know and try to embody. Jazz is not my lived experience in the purest sense, but I can do what I can to bring understanding to my experience by looking to those whose lives from which it was born." Joanne Baker


RESOURCES


Books:

• Jazz Dance - Sterns

• Jazz - Sterns (this is about jazz music but a great accompaniment)

• Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches - Guarino and Oliver

• Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance - Thomas F DeFrantz

• Steppin’ on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance

• America Dancing: From the Cake walk to the Moonwalk - Pugh

Online:

Moncell Durden

• Latasha Barnes (follow her on Instagram)

www.frankiemanningfoundation.org

• Remy Kouakou Kouame (search him on Youtube, he is teaching a ton)


This interview is a fascinating look into the ever expanding tree that is jazz, with a killer improvisation and musicality exercise thrown in half way through! We would love hear your thoughts on all things jazz history & definition and what you took from Joanne's interview!


For more information on DJD, visit: https://www.decidedlyjazz.com.


Enjoy!


Christie & James

#thisishowwedoit


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