"still kickin'" in St. Louis
Saturday morning, 10:00 a.m., in St. Louis, Missouri, and
a group of dance students has begun a traditional jazz warm-up
with their teacher. After twenty-five minutes have passed,
the students pair up for progressions across the floor, practicing
their battements and pirouettes. Everyone returns
to the center of the room to polish a funky combination they
have been learning over the past several weeks, then continues
with additional jazz choreography.
this dance group unique? The dancers range in age from 25
to nearly 60.
ago, at the age of 26, Kari James began forming dance classes
for adults only in St. Louis. Her love of funk/hip hop was
her motivation to offer this type of jazz class to adults
who knew they were not too old to enjoy all styles of dance.
With an extensive background in tap, she also began classes
that emphasize technique and rhythm following up-to-date tap
St. Louisan, Kari began training in St. Louis, but she continues
to broaden her style by traveling across the United States,
primarily to New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, to bring
the newest innovations to her classes.
style has been influenced by various jazz masters with whom
she has studied: Frank Hatchett in New York, Joe Tremaine
in Los Angeles, and tap greats such as Pat Rico, Sarah Petronio,
and Savion Glover. Her tap skills were rewarded when Director/Choreographer
Toni Kaye invited Kari to perform in a 1993 Los Angeles revival
of the burlesque musical "Sugar Babies."
working under the name Kari James Dance Network, Kari's students
represent adults whose lifelong love of danc has kept them
performing and studying even thourh most have careers in other
professions. Over the past ten years, this group has performed
at various local events such as fashion shows, arts festivals,
and nationally known dance competitions.
of the Dance Network has been, and continues to be, to encourage
dance education and performance at all levels and, most importantly,
for all ages.