My in-depth project in progressing very well so far! I have met with my mentor for about an hour and a half and I learned so much about solo jazz. Before our meeting, I researched about the history of solo jazz and watched some videos of experienced dancers to get the feel of this new style. Then during our meeting time my mentor taught me two thirds of a traditional solo jazz dance called the Tranky Doo which includes many basic solo jazz steps. Some of them include knee slaps, the eagle slide, falling off the log, Suzy Q, mess around, mambo, paddle, and more. With these steps I even started to practice very simple improvisation. My mentor also taught me more about the solo jazz style. For example, I learned about solo jazz being a very grounded dance style where as other dances such as ballet are very lifted. In addition, I learned about the constant pulse in your body you must have when doing solo jazz. We also did an exercise where my mentor or I would choose an emotion and we would have to dance the entire routine with that emotion. This exercise taught me all about individualizing steps and helped me start to create my own style.
During my meet with my mentor I was able to practice “how to agree” when I would ask a question about one of the steps or movements I would see her point of view to help us agree. I would find many points of agreement and made sure I genuinely wanted to know the answer. I could definitely see where she was coming from throughout our meeting and I know her answers were very insightful as she has had a lot of experience.
It was hard to practice “how to disagree” as I didn’t know much about solo jazz before in-depth, but I did find many chances to practice “how to differ.” Since tap dance and swing/solo jazz are very similar and come from the same roots, some of the steps have similar names. I have a background in tap dance and my mentor has experience in swing/solo jazz, so we have different personal experiences and background knowledge. Therefore, when she did a certain step, for example the falling off the log, I knew a different version than she did. They were both correct, but the solo jazz version is the right version for this solo jazz dance.
Next time I am going to meet with my mentor I will hopeful learn the rest of the Tranky Doo and will try a little more improvisation. Overall, I believe my in-depth project is going very well and I can’t wait to learn more!