Posted by: Erinn Liebhard | February 7, 2011

Boogie Out of Your Cabin Fever, Rhythm-Lover!

Good chilly morning to ya!

We hope this version of the Rhythmically Speaking newsletter finds you keeping cozy in your legwarmers (or whatever your choice of winter heat-keeper may be)! Though it’s freezing outside, the Twin Cities jazz and rhythm-based dance and music community is still on fire! While giving in to cabin fever may seem like a good idea at first, your body and soul will thank you if you get them out to experience what our culturally rich cities have to offer this winter. Whether it’s generating exciting new choreography, taking class or catching a dance or music show, there is something out there calling your name. Here are some options to get your started, hand-picked by your friends at Rhythmically Speaking;


Are you a creator, performer or teacher of jazz and rhythm-based dance? Visit the link above for our listing of creation resources available in the Twin Cities. Anything missing? Have ideas about information we could include? We are here to serve you, baby, so let us know by filling out the contact form at the bottom of the page! Featured opportunities;

1.) Rhythmically Speaking will be Seeking Choreographers for August Concert

Attention, Creators of Jazz and Rhythm-based Dance,

After two inspiring and successful years of inviting some of the Twin Cities’ best jazz and rhythm-  based choreographers to share their work with the community, Rhythmically Speaking is thrilled  to announce that choreographic submissions for our 3rd annual choreographers showcase will be  open to the public. The scoop;

– This year’s show is running August 25-27, 2011 at the Southern Theater
– A call for submissions will go out mid-to-late March (with a mid-to-late April deadline). For details, stay tuned to;

The Southern Dance Newsletter (to join, visit this link)
Rhythmically Speaking’s newsletter and blog (
Rhythmically Speaking’s Facebook page (here)

So start pulling together those inspired new piece ideas, and keep your eye out for more information! Questions? We’d love to hear from you at

2.) Passing the Beat: A Community Forum on Teaching Jazz and Rhythm-based Dance

When: April 16th from 12:00-2:00 (following Karla Grotting’s advanced jazz class)
Where: BALLAREteatro (4259 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis, MN, 55406)
Cost: Free of charge! Organized and Sponsored by Rhythmically Speaking

Are you new to teaching jazz and rhythm-based dance forms and are looking for a place to start? Are you old hat and in search of fresh tools and ideas? Whether you fit into either of these categories or anything in the spectrum between, Rhythmically Speaking encourages you to come check out Passing the Beat: A Community Forum on Teaching Jazz and Rhythm-based Dance.

Created out of a shared desire for a place where fellow teachers could trade ideas, Passing the Beat will be focused on jazz and rhythm-based warm-up exercises and music selection, and will be moderated by illustrious rhythm-queen Karla Grotting. Here’s how it’s going down; come on out to BALLAREteatro the morning of Saturday, April 16th for Karla’s Advanced Jazz Class (10:00-11:30, $15 at the door, less with a class card!). Then, stick around for the forum, which will be held in-studio to allow for demonstration. Come prepared to share your favorite exercises and music, and be ready to leave with new options!

RSVP’s are encouraged, as we are going to try and provide a snack for all attendees between class and the forum. Click here to RSVP on our Facebook event. Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? They are truly welcomed. Toss an email to Erinn and Heather at

Actively sharing and just absorbing both are encouraged, so when the 16th hits, put on your jazz pants, load up your teacher brain, and come out on to BALLAREteatro!!


Check out the newly-updated ‘Learn’ section of the Rhythmically Speaking blog site (link above); we keep an extensive listing of jazz and rhythm-driven dance classes happening around the Twin Cities metro area. Notice something missing? Fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page and let us know! Featured classes:

1.) Tuesdays, 7:00-8:30pm | West African | Whitney McClusky & Duniya Drum and Dance | Patrick’s Cabaret, Mpls

This Tuesday (February 8th) – Mandjou Mara Workshop: Mandjou began his professional drumming career when drum and dance group Oiseau Blanc, recruited him when he was just five years old as a djembe player. It was with this group that he honed his djembe skills and learned other aspects of Guinean music, dance, song, and staging. The djembe soloist of Oiseau Blanc recongnized Mandjou’s talent and introduced him to the prestigious Les Percussions de Guinee who took him on as one of their players. Momordiba Camara of the world renownd Les Ballets Africains was the next to recruit Mandjou as a djembe soloist and assistant director for his group Tayeli of Kaporo in 2000. Mandjou created his performance ensemble Limanya de la Guinee in 2007. Visit for more information!

2.) Saturdays, 10:00-11:30am | Adv. Jazz | Karla Grotting | BALLAREteatro, Mpls

This weekly jazz-fest is lead by Karla Grotting, Flying Foot Forum performer and all around rhythm-queen. Karla’s classes seamlessly weave bits of jazz history into lush, rhythm-driven, satisfying jazz exercises and combinations. Come on out to continue developing your movement musicality while sweating it out to some fantastic music.


Ever-buzzing with all sorts of artistic activity, the Twin Cities always has plenty of offerings to satiate the appetites of jazz lovers. For our extensive listing of your favorite companies and venues turning out innovative and exciting jazz and rhythm-driven dance (and music, for the matter), visit the link above. In fact, keep it bookmarked as a handy list to turn to when looking for some artistic entertainment! Anyone left off? Fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page and let us know! Featured events;

1.) Mad Munchkin Productions and the Eclectic Edge Ensemble Present:
Snow Bound! A Journey from Autumn to Spring

WHEN: Feb 17-20 at 8:00pm, 19 and 20 at 3:00pm
WHERE: The Ritz Theatre, 345 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN, 55413
TICKETS: $15 in advance, $17 at the door, (612) 436-1129, or visit

Snow Bound! teams Mad Munchkin Productions and the Eclectic Edge Ensemble in a magical infusion of puppetry and jazz dance against a backdrop of original music. Journey through the human experience of winter, from it’s playful wonder to depressing darkness and everything in between. Join hibernating animals and night stars as puppeteers and dancers explore the natural wintery world. Snow Bound! Is made possible in part by funding from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council.

2.) The Ausland Brothers of Buckets and Tap Shoes

WHEN: Friday, Feb 18 at 8:00 PM
WHERE: Mayslacks (1428 4th St NE, Minneapolis, MN, 55413)

Founded in 2004 by brothers Rick and Andy Ausland, Minneapolis-based “Buckets and Tap Shoes” is an explosive, high-energy rhythmic journey. These multi-talented performers have astounded world-wide audiences creating music on everything from paint buckets, wooden poles and tap shoes to electric guitars, drums, bass, keys and trumpet. Andy Ausland, Rick Ausland, Matt Stevens, Lightnin’ Joe Peterson, CJ Vanderpoll, and Aaron Wiener.

Feedback? Ideas? Comments? General thoughts? Notes? Queries? Just want to say hi? Contact us at, friend us on Facebook here, or fill out a contact form at We hope that you enjoyed this installment of the Rhythmically Speaking E-Newsletter. Have a great February and March, getting out and enjoy your jazz-loving cities; we’ll hit your inbox again in April!

Boogie on, rhythm-lovers!
Erinn + Heather

Posted by: Erinn Liebhard | November 26, 2010

A Thank You and A Big Announcement

On behalf of the new Rhythmically Speaking advisory board, a MASSIVE THANKS complete with jazz hands to everyone who made our Give to the Max Day a big success. We raised nearly $800 in contributions to help fund the organization’s next creative endeavor.

Small note: If you gave and didn’t intend your donation to be anonymous, we’d love to know so we can thank you personally! Just reply to the email and say “heck yeah I donated to Rhythmically Speaking” on Give to the Max Day!”

So what’s the big news? First, Rhythmically Speaking’s next show will be held in August at The Southern Theater. Since Bedlam’s displacement, we’ve been on the hunt for the perfect space to house our annual production. And we thought, why not one of the best dang dance house in town? So it shall be. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months about the Choreographer’s Call and the August show.

Secondly, we’d like to introduce and welcome our new advisory board who will guide and build this budding organization:

  • Lindsay Woolward, Board Chair
  • Sarah Salisbury, Secretary
  • Reilly Liebhard
  • Zoe Sealy
  • Aaron Shoenrock
  • Erinn Liebhard & Heather P Westerlund


Profuse thanks and love,

Erinn Liebhard + Heather P. Westerlund

Posted by: Erinn Liebhard | November 9, 2010

Big News and Groovin Holidays

Good things come in 3’s this fall, or 4 if you consider this amazing autumnal weather. Check out the good news below, plus some ideas for how to celebrate the holiday merriment through dance.


2011 Production
Get Some Mad Tax-Breaks on November 16th
We Have a Face Now
How to Celebrate the Holidays through Dance

2011 Production

Yes, a 2011 Rhythmically Speaking  production is in the works for next summer! The response from both artists and audience for the past two shows has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. We look forward to offering jazz and rhythm-based choreographers a creative and paid opportunity to showcase their work in a professional venue. For choreographers, stayed tuned this winter/spring for a “Choreographer’s Call” and other details.

Get Some Mad Tax-Breaks on November 16th

Rhythmically Speaking is now able to accept tax-deductible donations thanks to Springboard for the Arts, our new Fiscal Sponsor. If you support the rich history and innovative new territory of rhythm-based dance–from jazz and swing to African and tap–please support Rhythmically Speaking on’s “Give to the Max Day.”

On Tuesday, November 16, you can directly help artists create and present work, and get a charitable donation tax-deduction through a simple online gift. And it’s so simple. Just visit Rhythmically Speaking on GiveMN on November 16 and make a donation of nearly any amount simply and securely online.

We like to think of “Give to the Max Day” as The Great Minnesota Give Together. Last year’s event smashed records as the most successful one-day online fundraising drive in history raising more than $14 million for Minnesota nonprofits in its first year. Learn more about “Give to the Max Day” and GiveMN here.

Other details:

  • Throughout the event, an individual donor will be randomly chosen every hour to have $1,000 given to the charity that received the donor’s original donation.
  • Any individual may donate. Donations through the site to nonprofit organizations are tax deductible. Contributions may be made via credit and debit card only.

We Have a Face Now

Or a facebook page, same thing. Publicly declare your support and love for jazz and rhythm-based dance forms by liking us:

How to Celebrate the Holidays through Dance

The holiday season can be stressful, and we think dance can make it less painful. Here are 5 mostly great ideas for celebrating (and de-stressing) the holidays through the joy of dance. A warning: These ideas may leave you merry or possibly crabby.

  1. Give tickets as a gift to a blockbuster Broadway show, such as Billy Elliot The Musical at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, or Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at The Ordway in St. Paul. Spend an evening with a friend or loved one watching flashy dance moves on stage, then wander around the snowy, twinkly-light streets of downtown. 

  2. Organize a large group of people you don’t know for a festive flash mob to annoy and amaze unsuspecting holiday shoppers. Consider getting a corporate sponsor if you want to make people smile and frown: Here’s an example from Sweden

  3. Go out on a romantic holiday date with a physically coordinated hottie for a dance lesson. The fiery salsa is a best-bet for gettin close and keepin it hot on a cold winter night. Some options:
  4. Bring a child to Zenon’s “The Nutcracker According to Mother Goose” at the Southern Theater. Kids always remember their first theater experience and if it’s anything like last year, they’ll be laughing hysterically or forever terrified over Eddie Oroyan as a giant mouse named Nibbles. Playing December 16th at 6:30pm, Dec. 18th at 10:00am and 1:00pm, and Dec. 19th at 1:00pm  |  Tickets $12 – $18  |  Southern Theater 

  5. Break out the canvas jazz shoes and fuzzy leg warmers to keep warm around the house and your plié in check this winter.


Have a great holiday season and we’ll see you in the New Year with fresh movement and creative undertakings,

Heather P. Westerlund with Erinn Liebhard

Posted by: Erinn Liebhard | September 20, 2010

Personal Drive (And a New Name/Look!)

I had the fortunate pleasure of experiencing a dance class by an amazing guest artist yesterday. A great deal of my excitement was due to the quality and uniqueness of the class; it was a Congolese Afro-funk class taught by Herve Makaya Kayos, visiting from Oakland, CA but originally from the Republic of Congo. The other portion of my excitement was the awe I experienced in seeing Whitney McClusky’s organization, Duniya Drum and Dance, bring such amazing guests to the Twin Cities. I am deeply inspired by how Whitney has harnessed her passion for African dance, using that energy to bring opportunity back to her fellow dancers. And she is not alone. Here are some amazing Twin Cities artists who are using their passions surrounding jazz and rhythm-based dance to bring great things to their peers;

Whitney McClusky – Duniya Drum and Dance

Duniya Drum and Dance exists to build a diverse community in support of the arts of the African Diaspora, specifically drum and dance. Duniya strives to provide a platform for artists to offer educational opportunities to a broad audience.

Rebecca Abbas – Four Seasons Dance Studio

Located in Minneapolis, Four Seasons Dance Studio is a relaxed and friendly place to learn innovative and traditional partner dances in a non-competitive style. The focus is on dancing as a social art for personal pleasure and public confidence.

Rebecca, along with Gerry Girouard, is also a co-founder of dance technique BodyTalk. The duo has mashed up their passions of tango, salsa, waltz and other partner dances with contact improvisation, capoiera and modern dance to explore a new performance dance style.

Amirah Sackett, Arturo Miles + Others – Collective Hip Hop

Collective Hip Hop is dedicated to producing shows and educational opportunities that elevate the original forms of hip-hop dance such as poppin’, lockin’, breakin’, and uprockin’ while creating their own style and flavor. The members of Collective teach hip-hop in the Twin Cities area and abroad, educating young dancers on the history of hip-hop dance and instilling respect for Hip-Hop culture as a whole. It is their goal, as performers and educators, to promote hip-hop culture, show respect to those who have come before them, and to inspire those who will come after them.

These are just a few examples of Twin-Citians who are taking it on themselves to create opportunities for people who share their interests to learn about their jazz/ social/ rhythm-based dance passion. Not only are they creating opportunities, they are finding that they have hungry audiences to serve!

In light of harnessing passion to create opportunity, Heather and I have decided to rebrand this newsletter to offer it as a part of the larger project we curate, Rhythmically Speaking. The Twin Cities has a rich history of jazz and rhythm-based dance, and through the creation of an annual choreographer showcase, monthly newsletter and other pursuits still in progress, Rhythmically Speaking strives to foster the development of dance that seeks roots in this history while using them to move into new territory.

So keep your eye out for the newly-branded Rhythmically Speaking Monthly (formerly Minnesota Jazz Dance Collective Blog and Newsletter), a great way to keep your fingers on the pulse of jazz and rhythm-based dance in the Twin Cities and Minnesota at large. Remember that your contributions add to its vibrancy! To submit content suggestions of any kind (don’t be shy!), please email us at And thank you to everyone who made it out this August to our 2nd annual production, Principles of Pulse. With raucous, sell-out crowds and ever-increasing artistic quality, the show was a true success, and we are so grateful to have shared that with you.  

 While passion can take you far, support can carry you even further, so thank you for taking an active interest in jazz and rhythm-based dance. It is truly people like you who keep passions aflame and the many units of the world dancing to their own (yet often shared) beats!


Erinn Liebhard with Heather P. Westerlund

Posted by: Erinn Liebhard | August 18, 2010

How many hot choreographers can fit under one roof?

NINE! We’re taking the opportunity this month to focus on an upcoming production we are quite proud of– Principles of Pulse: An evening of rhythm-based choreography.

Show Info:
Principles of Pulse: An evening of rhythm-based choreography
When: August 19 – 21, 2010  |  7:30pm
Where: Bedlam Theatre, West Bank, Mpls
Tickets: $18 advance / $20 at the door (advance strongly recommended)

After a sold-out run at Bedlam last August to clamorous audiences, Rhythmically Speaking brings you its next show Principles of Pulse, an evening of jazz sensibilities fused with rhythm-based movement exploration, showcasing work by Jennifer Glaws, Karla Grotting, Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, Sarah Jabar, Ellen Keane, Erinn Liebhard, Jeffery Peterson, Kenna Sarge and Karis Sloss.

These nine emerging and established choreographers offer a wide range of perspectives on dance based on rhythm and the jazz vernacular. Diverse, collaborative, musical and dynamic, rhythm provides us with an ever-versatile way to explore the body’s desire to move. Rhythmically Speaking is the brainchild of Erinn Liebhard and Heather P. Westerlund.

This will also be one of your last chances to experience the Bedlam in all it’s glory before they must vacate the space. Don’t miss out on probably the best rooftop patios in town overlooking downtown Minneapolis before or after the show– it’s both chill and magical. They have beer, wine, old fashioned sodas and delicious, affordable food. And of course, amazing talent to keep you company.

See you at the show,
Heather P. Westerlund + Erinn Liebhard

Posted by: Erinn Liebhard | July 20, 2010

Live and Learn

‘Live’ in the sense of on stage, creation happening in the moment.

August provides chances for us jazz, rhythm and music-based dance lovers to experience both the ‘live’ of stage performance and the ‘learn’ of honing style and technique in a classroom. Below is a highlight for both learn and live. We’d especially like to promote our other joint endeavor (listed below)–a new show called Principles of Pulse. It’s a rare opportunity to see nine of the Twin Cities most talented jazz dance-makers under one roof;


Karis Sloss and Karla Grotting

LEARN: Zenon Hosts Jazz Week Intensive with Karis Sloss, Karla Grotting and friends!
August 9-14, 11:00am-4:00pm daily / Int-Adv Level
Zenon Dance
Price: $225 full wksp/ $200 tech and style classes only/ $100 master classes only
Workshop will include jazz dance technique, style, history and master classes featuring some of the Twin Cities finest teachers.  It is designed for the Intermediate/Advanced Level dancer.
Featuring Master classes with: Joe Chvala – percussive dance, Zoey Sealy – classic jazz style, Kenna Sarge – West African dance, Amy Sackett – Hip Hop, and Linda Talcott Lee – jazz for musical theater. Taking registrations now through August 5th!

For full workshop schedule, questions or to register for the workshop Contact: or call 612-338-1101.  Also, visit us at


Principles of Pulse

LIVE: Rhythmically Speaking presents Principles of Pulse: An evening of rhythm-based choreography
August 19-21, 2010 | 7:30pm
Bedlam Theatre, West Bank, Mpls (getting here)
Tickets: 612.341.1038  |  online
After the high-octane, foot-stomping, feel-good, sold-out show Rhythmically Speaking in August, Erinn Liebhard and Heather P. Westerlund join forces again to bring you Principles of Pulse, a new collection of jazz-based works by choreographers Jennifer Glaws, Karla Grotting, Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, Sarah Jabar, Ellen Keane, Erinn Liebhard, Jeffrey Peterson, Kenna Sarge, and Karis Sloss.

A note from the blog-keepers/ show producers: From African to tap to jazz, this show is sure to offer joy for all. If you came out to last summer’s Rhythmically Speaking show that we produced, you know how much fun it was, and we hope many of you can make it out to our second round, Principles of Pulse. With limited seating, many dancers and high interest, the show is likely to sell out, so pre-purchase of tickets is strongly recommended. It’s going to be the LAST long-run show in Bedlam’s current beloved space before they are forced to vacate, so come on out to simultaneously support the show, the theater, and enjoy drinks and food before the best rooftop patio in Minneapolis closes it’s doors!

So this August, make some time in your summer fun schedule to ‘live and learn’ the jazz way!

Erinn Liebhard + Heather P Westerlund

Posted by: Erinn Liebhard | June 22, 2010

The Three F’s of Summer

Summer in Minnesota is all about the three F’s: fun, food, and FREE. Also, anything without a roof. There is something exhilarating about lounging and milling around outdoors with hundreds of strangers having a picnic, drinking a brew, noshing your waistline away, and watching performers as they send out their cheerful summertime vibes across the crowd.

I work at a park in Eagan that provides these types of opportunities to indulge in summer—music, dance and theater in a verdant green setting for the community to enjoy (shameless plug: it’s called Caponi Art Park and Learning Center).  There are countless events this summer all around the metro where you can sit back and enjoy dance and music, and if you’re adventurous, strap on your dance shoes too. Here is a list of affordable upcoming jazz dance and music events in the cities all for under $20, including 3 this Thursday. If anyone wants to join me for the Summer Dance Series below, I’m game.


Landmark Center

DANCE – Summer Dance Series: Swing
Thursday, June 24, 5:30pm and all summer
Landmark Center
Price: Free!
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, along with the Landmark Center, The Saint Paul Hotel and the St. Paul Public Library system enthusiastically announce the free Summer Dance program, a weekly social dance event at Landmark Plaza. Beginning June 17, Summer Dance highlights a different social dance technique every Thursday with basic lessons by professional dance companies and the subsequent invitation to put those lessons to practice during open dancing the rest of the evening with a live, local band. Dance, relax and experience the vibrant energy of downtown St. Paul in the summertime. Ordway Summer Dance has also partnered with the St. Paul Public Library system to bring you dance-themed films at the Central Library’s Friday Movie Night. Join us in Central Library’s Kellogg Blvd Courtyard each Friday at 9:30pm.

Dance to live music Thursday nights on Landmark Plaza, 5th and Market Streets, Downtown Saint Paul. This Thursday is Swing, and upcoming events will include Tango, Disco, Cajun/Country, Rock & Roll, Ballroom, Reggae/World Beat (with Kenna Sarge). Here’s what’s in store for this Thursday:
5:30pm Beer and wine for purchase throughout the night.
6:00pm Dance instruction with Arthur Murray Dance Studio
7:30-10:00pm Live Music with The Senders

Rhythmic Circus

DANCE – Rhythmic Circus presents Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!
Thursday, June 24 – Saturday, June 26, 2010  |  8:00pm
Women’s Club Theatre
Tickets: $15 – $17  |
In Rhythmic Circus’ groundbreaking production, Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!, the company showcases their technical capacity as dancers and explores rhythm through percussive dance as it plays off a wide array of musical genres spanning from Minneapolis funk to salsa. Infusing their unique style of hard-hitting tap, high-spirited humor, and finger-snapping tunes, Rhythmic Circus satisfies their “rhythmic appetite” on everything from sand to folding chairs, and in one number even utilizes the technology of electric drum triggers to change the sound of their taps! This unforgettable show is guaranteed to leave audiences of all ages amazed with its unique “you have to see it to believe it” quality!

DANCE + MUSIC – Kairos Dance Theater and Irv Williams
Thursday, June 24, 2010  |  7:30pm
Lake Harriet Bandshell
Price: Free!
At 86 years old, Irv Williams is one of the most beloved local jazz heros and saxophonist in Minnesota. He teams up with Kairos Dance Theater for an intergenerational and inter-genre performance of jazz music and dance in an accessible setting at a price you just can’t beat.

Jazz Implosion

MUSIC – Jazz Implosion
Every week Monday  |  9:00pm
Turf Club
Tickets: $5 at the door
I really enjoyed Nate Patrin’s description of Jazz Implosion in City Pages:
“There’s something endearingly weird about the Turf Club’s recurring Monday night jazz showcase: it’s situated in the surrealist circus decor of the wood-paneled basement Clown Lounge, and the grand marshals of the whole undertaking, the free jazz trio Fat Kid Wednesdays, can shift from an offbeat faux-amateurism to brilliantly moving and complex reveries in an instant. Esoteric as that may sound, they pack ’em in by the dozens — no small feat for Monday nights — and there’s a particular rarefied feel to these nights that hits a sweet spot between sophisticated cool and accessible absurdity. And while Bates, Linz and Lewis preside over the show with an expert flair for the outer limits of jazz, the regular rotation of guests — encompassing just about every experimental and free jazz group in the metro — means you’ll have even more of a reason to make Jazz Implosion a regular Monday night thing.”

Eclectic Edge Ensemble

DANCE – Eclectic Edge Ensemble presents For Sports Sake
July 15 – 17, 2010  |  8:00pm
July 18, 2010  |  2:00pm
Ritz Theater, Mpls
Tickets: $15  |  612.436.1129  |
After last summer’s celebrated real vs. movie love send-up, Reeling Over Love, the Eclectic Edge Ensemble returns to the Ritz stage to explore, through their signature theatrical antics, how sports inform and shape our country’s culture. As more and more cultural focus is put on high school football stats, who’s hosting the Olympic Games and what sort of scandals athletes are finding themselves in, For Sport’s Sake begs the question; Do sports have the power to solve all of the world’s problems? With a second half that explores this question, and the a first half of the evening featuring three new works by Karis Sloss and a premiere work by local jazz dance legend Zoe Sealy, For Sport’s Sake again delivers an evening of dance true to the company’s namesake; eclectic.


MUSIC – DakotaFest
Saturday, July 17, 2010  | 10:00 am – 10:00pm
Peavey Plaza on Nicollet Mall between 10th and 11th
Price: Free!
The Dakota celebrates its 25th Anniversary year with a block party. I’ll post more as I learn it, but for now we’re expecting live music on two stages, food from local restaurants, activities for kids (including an “instrument petting zoo” staffed by the MacPhail Center for Music), and beverages provided by Summit Brewery.


Get out and enjoy summer through dance before its gone…

Heather P. Westerlund with Erinn Liebhard

Posted by: Erinn Liebhard | May 25, 2010

Global and Local

While driving one day last week, absentmindedly listening to The Current radio station as it filled out the background, I focused in when the announcer said something to the tune of ‘amazing how a country so small could provide the world so many musical influences.’ It turns out that “The Current Presents,” a weekly show in which the topic is academically focused and completely different each episode, though always about music, was doing their upcoming installment about Jamaica. Though I was unable to catch the show, hearing about it really got my mind going. Jamaica, barely the size of Connecticut, has produced for us Mento, Reggae, Reggaeton, Dub, Dub-step, Dancehall and Ska. Beyond this, there are also numerous spin-off genres that have, after receiving the seed from Jamaica, grown into their own forms in other countries (Drum and Bass/ Jungle, various forms of Electronica).

Maybe I am reaching for a too-large connection here, but I think this particular topic really speaks to an idea you can’t seem to hear enough about lately; local versus global. Though there are indeed many people who choose to side themselves for one or the other, the idea of one as the function of the other, and visa versa, is beginning to take hold. Jamaica’s musical influence is a perfect example of this; a small, specific area turned out ideas of interest that traveled and gained strongholds in other specific areas. However, this is not where this exchange stops; In their new homes, music and dance styles experience mutations and transformations, and often find their way back home to continue the process. Take Mento, a Jamaican folk style music, which traveled to the U.S. in the hands of musicians who found their way into Jazz. Upon returning home, their musical experiences fused to create Reggae.

I am not trying to suggest that in order to latch onto a new creative idea, you must take what you know to a far away country. What I am trying to suggest is that we have a powerful combination on our hands, folks; the fortunate situation of our localities (for many of you, this is the Twin Cities) existing as hotbeds of creative activity, coupled with increasingly simpler ways to engage our thoughts in a global way. Just remember that while it can sometimes feel like You Tube can transport you around the world, a lot of the interests it has helped you develop are happening right here at home. Here’s one;

Minnesota 4th Annual Dancehall Queen Competition
Saturday, June 26th at 8:00pm
Arnellia’s – 1183 University Ave W, St Paul, Minnesota 55104
Contestants vie for the chance to compete at the International Dancehall Queen Competition in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Haven’t heard about one of our local slices of Jamaica? Check this out:

Get on out and see what global ideas are influencing our local culture, developing in new ways that may take themselves across an ocean some day– who knows!

If you have other examples of local/global happenings here that my be flying under our radars, comment on them below!

Erinn Liebhard with Heather P. Westerlund

Posted by: Erinn Liebhard | April 28, 2010

Hot, hot, hot May

The weather ain’t the only thing hotter than usual around here. Jawaahir’s studios will turn into a Hot Club this weekend. I was actually surprised to discover last minute that there’s a big Lindy festival in Minneapolis. Must be an underground thing. It’s called the “Midwest Lindy Fest” and it chock full of performances, socials and classes over three days.

Classes are taught by instructors from around the US and Canada focusing on swing and lindy but also including instruction in tap, African and other forms. The “How Ninja’s do Aerials” class taught by Canadian’s and Cirque du Soleil choreographers Max Pitruzzella and Annie Trudeau is right up my alley. The socials must be what really attract people to this weekend-long event with two big dances accompanied by musical groups Twin Cities Hot Club, Patty and the Buttons, and the Mouldy Pigs. But the highlight? The sold-out premier showcase on Friday featuring dance performances by the instructors and other invited guests. Don’t fret; you can still takes lots of great classes and attend the socials, plus an Amateur Showdown event which looks the most intriguing to me. Check out the Midwest Lindy Fest:

DANCE – Midwest Lindy Fest

April 30 – May 2, 2010
Jawaahir Studios
Classes/workshops $15 / Dances $20 / Late night dance $10 / Single-day pass (classes & dances) $75 / All-weekend pass $149
Register for classes, workshops and dances at


Other hot events going on in May:

Photo by Lace/Hanky Photography

DANCE – Eclectic Edge Ensemble @ Kinetic Kitchen
April 30 & May 1, 2010  |  8:00pm
Patrick’s Cabaret
Tickets: $10 | 612-721-3595,
Curated by Sarah LaRose-Holland, Kinetic Kitchen is a reoccurring dance series showcasing a variety of dance styles. This show will include jazz work by Karis Sloss’ Eclectic Edge Ensemble, and also works by Amy Trayers, John Munger’s Third Rabbit Dance Ensemble, Ray Terrill Dance Group, and Sarah LaRose-Holland’s Kinetic Evolutions.

Zenon Dance Company

DANCE – Zenon Dance Company’s 27th Spring Season
April 30 – May 1 @ 8:00pm  |  May 2 @ 2:00pm
Tickets: $27 adults, $16 students/children  |  To order tickets online, click here or 651.690.6700
Zenon’s spring program at the O’Shaughnessy showcases a rare and dynamic blend of modern and jazz with a concert of vivacious, virtuosic, and fearlessly athletic dance. Concert will include Danny Buraczeski’s Swing Concerto, an upbeat swing danced to music by Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, as well as works by Sean Curran, Morgan Thorson, Wynn Fricke.


May 14 – 16, 2010
Orpheum Theatre
Tickets: $23 – $65 | 1.800.982.2787,
What began as a musical about cats after Andrew Lloyd Webber picked up a book of poems in an airport bookshop has become one of the longest running shows in Broadway’s history. Winner of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, CATS features 20 of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s timeless melodies.

African Nite at Patrick's Cabaret

DANCE – African Nite presented by Kenna Sarge
May 21 & 22, 2010  |  8:00pm
Patrick’s Cabaret
Tickets: $8 – $10 | 612-721-3595,
Kenna Sarge curates African Nite at Patrick’s: an evening of traditional and contemporary African music, dance, fashion and stories. Featuring: ConsciousSpirit, Duniya Drum and Dance/Whitney McClusky, WISE Drum and Dance Corps, Voice of Culture, Universal Dance Destiny, AfroBrazilian Capoeira Association, ENQ presents the FlyyGyrlz, Barinya, Titambe West African Dance Ensemble, Hosted by Auntie Beverly, special guests and more!

Hot Club of Cowtown

MUSIC – Hot Club of Cowtown
May 23, 2010  |  7:00pm
Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant
Tickets:, 612-332-1010
One of the hardest swinging, longest touring bands in Western swing, the Hot Club of Cowtown has ascended from its unlikely beginnings in NYC’s East Village a decade ago to become the premier ambassador of hot jazz. Their breathtaking live show has left admirers in their wake at the Grand Ol’ Opry, A Prairie Home Companion, and an opening slot on a Bob Dylan tour. With a sound that has its roots in the Hot Jazz era, they have expanded their vision with Americana music, vintage pop and folk music, and more with the group’s original songs.


Go out and see something hot this month!

signing off–
Heather P. Westerlund with Erinn Liebhard

Posted by: Erinn Liebhard | April 13, 2010

Music You Can Eat

As a dancer, more often than not, dance concerts trump other forms of live entertainment when it comes to what I most frequently attend. While I whole-heartedly enjoy my outings to see works of dance art, I occasionally find myself wishing I could be better at supplementing my live-performance diet with some more theater, music and other such stage revelry. As a performer, creator or appreciator, variety can only benefit your eyes and ears, opening them up to fresh ideas and new ways to see things you deemed  familiar. This weekend, I put this wish into action, and ended up experiencing one of the most amazing live music shows of my life thusfar.

I attended Dosh at the Bedlam Theater, and my experience was akin to the strange title of this post – music you can eat. To be more clear, this was music that you don’t just hear; you experience it. It felt so thick that I could reach out and grab it, eat it, and enjoy it’s taste. The element that made this music so tangible to me was it’s depth. Dosh, a one-man-band of sorts, is a wiz-kid when it comes to creating layer upon layer of sound, adding new patterns and rhythms and accents at every turn. Utilizing both traditional jazz sounds and instruments, from his savvy on the piano to quality guest-chops on the saxophone, he also pulls heavily on ideas of electronica and free jazz.

I could go on, trying my best to be a music critic, but I will spare you and cut to the point; this concert got my head spinning so creatively crazy that I felt like I wanted to stay up until 4am just to process my thoughts and feelings. Of course, I fought that urge and wrestled myself into bed, but my head remained excitedly swimming through a pool of creative ideas and general happiness.

Have you recently had an amazing, moving live music experience? What were the elements that made it unique and incredible? How did you find out about the artist? How did the experience inform you as a creator, performer or observer? (comment below)

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences and hopefully finding out about some more musicians! Remember to visit the blog attached to this newsletter ( for a selection of music and dance events going on in the cities. We are always updating the site and in search of great new shows and classes.  As a resource for our jazz-interested community, the site is great a tool for you to get the word out. To submit information about shows, classes, events or want ads (in search of teachers, etc.), follow the ‘submit’ links at the bottom of each corresponding page on the site, or email Happy Spring!

Erinn Liebhard with Heather P. Westerlund

P.S. – If you are looking for a great music show this week, here is an option! :

Chic Corea and Gary Burton
April 16th & 17th, 2010| 7:00pm, 9:30pm
The Dakota
Tickets: $25 – $90 |
These two virtuosic improvisors first worked together in 1972, and their album from that year, Crystal Silence, is one of the landmarks of jazz history. Since then the duo has only recorded five other albums, but they perform together nearly every year. This deep and substantive musical friendship is evident in their seamless interplay and timeless interpretations of their tunes.

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