This blog follows Dance Wire’s Founder/Director Emily Running in her adventures taking new dance classes all over Portland.
What better time to oil the joints than Sunday morning?
Thorey Mountain gives classic jazz dance workshops from 9 to 10:30 on Sunday mornings at BodyVox. Although several students attend every class, the workshops are given in four week sessions so it is important to check the dates, listed in advance on the BodyVox website. If you’ve never been to BodyVox it’s easy to find but parking can be tough so leave enough time. But, once you walk inside all those cares melt away. BodyVox is a gorgeous dance center with two spacious studios, a lobby with check-in desk, bathrooms, changing rooms and cubbies for your stuff.
Thorey starts the class off with about 20 minutes of what she calls “oiling the joints” which consists of a luxurious sequence of easy to follow continuous movement, getting the blood flowing and heart rate up just a little. We moved through the space first then found a spot facing the mirror for a progression of isolations and reaching stretches. If you have any background in jazz this will all be delightfully familiar. If you do not have experience in jazz or have taken a break from dancing for awhile, it will just depend on your comfort level with winging it until you catch on. (Thorey has considered offering a strictly beginner class so if you are interested, let her know!)
After warmup we moved into the technique section. For this style, technique is about precision, coordination, and rhythm plus Thorey throws in a pirouette sequence to work on your turns. I couldn’t help but smile the whole time with the lighthearted vibe of the playlist and the great group of people in class.
Each class also features two bits of choreography. The first is Thorey’s work, and the second is repertory from jazz classics like Pippin and A Chorus Line - which Thorey performed in earlier in her career. The choreography in the video is Thorey’s work, but following that we learned a sequence from Pippin which was super fun! It is rare to get the opportunity to work with someone who studied and performed with classic jazz greats like Bob Fosse, Matt Mattox, and Michael Bennett. We are lucky to have Thorey right here in Portland sharing this incredible gift!
Find more Portland-area dance classes on Dance Wire's Find A Class Directory.