Jazz music has been an inspiration to many artists. Friday night, musicians and dancers will come together for “Seeing JAZZ Move” to explore the moods and rhythms of jazz.
It will be a site-specific performance in conjunction with “Seeing JAZZ,” an exhibition of the Smithsonian’s International Gallery of Art. The exhibit showcases artwork and literature inspired by jazz from around the world.
The “Seeing JAZZ” exhibition presents a panorama of artistic responses to jazz music through a collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings, collages and photographs. Musicians and dancers will collaborate in the art of improvisation for “Seeing JAZZ Move.”
The exhibition is organized into three categories. “Rhythm” focuses on musical variety, spanning from spirituals to the sounds of every day activities. “Improvisation” provides the performers, artists and writers with opportunities to express spontaneous creativity. “Call and Response” focuses on exchanges between participants in a jazz performance.
The performance of “Seeing JAZZ Move” adds another dimension to the exhibition, bringing it to life with impromptu choreography by renown international artists.
The jazz festival also will feature improvisation workshops for dancers, actors, students and artists. The workshops, which will run all day Saturday in Building J (GW’s dance studio), will be taught by several of the performers from “Seeing JAZZ Move” and include dance, theater and a discussion of the art of improvisation.
The program will culminate with “Expect the Unexpected,” DC’s Third International Dance Improvisation Plus + Festival. The performance will be open script, with dancers and musicians of diverse styles creating spontaneous choreography and performance art through interactive dialogue with the audience.
Maida Withers, curator of the festival, is a dance professor at GW. The artists participating in the festival are recognized for their experimental approaches to choreography and for their distinctive work with dance improvisation.
“Seeing JAZZ Move” is free; “Expect the Unexpected” and workshops are $10 each or $25 for all events. For reservations call (202) 994-0739.
This article appeared in the December 4, 1997 issue of the Hatchet.