Class: Latin Jazz with Rainy Demerson

Rainy Demerson
UCR/Cal Poly Pomona, USA

This class seeks to dissolve the perceived boundaries of social dance practices of the Americas. Through movement, we will explore the colonial histories and subversive powers of the African, European, and Cuban contributions to Latin Jazz dance. Acknowledging historical interactions between Cubans and U.S.-Americans, particularly through the 1950’s and ‘60’s, we can see where boundaries were crossed and which factors were made invisible as Jazz flourished as a theatrical form. Students will engage with rumba, salsa, and hot and cool jazz techniques and worldviews to learn choreography as well as improvise.

Rainy Demerson is a Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Demerson holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University, an MA in Dance Education from New York University, and a BA in World Arts and Cultures/Dance from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has trained internationally at L’ecole des Sables in Senegal, Teatro Nacional de Cuba, Escola de Dança da FUNCEB in Brazil, and in Belize, Indonesia and Germany. She produced choreography in New York and Senegal and presented it in festivals nationally. Demerson taught Dance and Yoga to youth throughout New York City for seven years. She taught at Lindenwood University, El Paso Community College, Crafton Hills College, and Scripps College. She is now teaching Dance and World Cultures at Cal Poly Pomona University. Demerson has articles published in the Journal of Dance Education and the Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship.

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