Dance sampler offers jazz, modern lessons from seven teachers

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Heidi Meshurel-Jolly, center, leads an adult dance class at her ballet studio in downtown Steamboat Springs on Wednesday. Meshurel-Jolly will be teaching jazz dance as part of a seven-week modern and jazz sampler at the Northwest Ballet of Steamboat Springs studio, 326 Oak St. The first class is Monday.

— Ryan Browning, a professional dancer, defines modern dance as a Jackson Pollock painting on hardwood.

"It's abstract art taken off a canvas and put on a floor. You can do anything with it," he said. "Ballet is so two-dimensional, but modern is a three-dimensional form of dance."

Different combinations of classes will be offered during a seven-week modern and jazz sampler that begins Monday.

"When you break down dance movements, you can bring them all back to ballet or modern," said modern jazz teacher Julie Tucek. "Everything else came out of those two brands of dance."

The dance teachers for the sampler include Nicole Idzahl (modern African), Tucek (modern jazz), Penny Hamilton (funk jazz), Heidi Meshurel-Jolly (jazz), Browning (jazz), Tiana Buschmann (lyrical) and Lisa Harner (modern).

Hamilton defines her funk jazz style as a combination of modern jazz and funky hip-hop.

"It's not as rigid as traditional jazz," Hamilton said. "We will pretty much just be having fun - and learn a combination and do it over and over again - with a piece of music that has a good bass."

Buschmann will show her class that lyrical dance doesn't necessarily mean it has to be slow.

"A lot of people think that, but it is misconstrued. You can have a really, really fast lyrical piece," she said. "It takes a lot of elements of modern and jazz and incorporates a lot of emotion."

Buschmann, who typically teaches hip-hop, will throw in some of those fundamentals as well.

"I'm planning on teaching choreography to a Tori Amos song," she said. "And I would like to use some sheets" as props.

Buschmann's favorite part of teaching dance classes is watching her students' progress.

"Even if it's just one class they are in, I enjoy watching students go through the process in their mind and body and watching them grow within an hour," she said. "It's just amazing."

Browning spends most of his time on the receiving end of dance classes and likes teaching because of the challenge of breaking down the movements and making the experience fun for his students.

"You don't have a lot of chances to have fun in the professional dance world," he said. "Some people go the class just to dance. I go to lose myself in it."

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