Jazz Power Initiative (JPI), a non-profit organization that transforms lives through jazz music education and performing arts, is opening its doors to new students, with a series of free OPEN STUDIO classes in voice, dance and theatre arts on Thursdays, January 20, February 17 and March 10 from 4:30pm-7pm at United Palace located at 4140 Broadway and 175th Street in Washington Heights. There is no charge to attend but parent/guardians must register their young person age 10-17 at jazzpower.org/youth.
Our OPEN STUDIO classes will be led by the community-oriented jazz pianist, composer and educator Eli Yamin, along with acclaimed jazz vocalist Antoinette Montague and veteran theater director and choreographer Mickey Davidson, introducing young performers ages 10-17 to blues and jazz, to activate their imagination and creative self-expression through song and dance. Students who complete one or more Open Studio classes are eligible to participate in Jazz Power’s 12-week after-school training program starting in late March.
Classes are offered at no charge to families in need through our Youth Education programs, funded in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support from the New York State Legislature.
Registration and attendance are open to all students at no charge. Guardians can register their youth by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or registering at jazzpower.org/youth.
“Jazz Power Youth Online is a ‘creative life-line’ connecting students and families, to lift our spirits and resilience, especially over this very challenging past two years,” notes Jazz Power Initiative’s Managing and Artistic Director, Eli Yamin. “We are thrilled to be able to welcome new students to join us for our OPEN STUDIO classes, so they can stay active, singing, and dancing in the community-oriented, artistic tradition of jazz and blues music.”
Jazz Power Initiative’s Managing and Artistic Director, Eli Yamin, is a pianist, composer, singer, author and educator who has been spreading the joy of jazz through his work for 30 years, including 10 years as founding director of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy and 18 years directing Jazz Power Initiative. Eli tours with his jazz quartet, and has published three musicals for young performers and released eight CD’s. He has performed at The White House, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and in over 20 countries as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State. Eli sincerely believes learning about jazz should feel as creative as playing jazz, and consistently shares this experience with students of all ages. He holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Lehman College and is working towards his doctorate at Stony Brook University (SUNY). Eli is also the author of “So You Want To Sing The Blues: A Guide For Performers,” published by Rowman and Littlefield in collaboration with the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).
Senior Dance Teaching Artist Mickey Davidson won an Audelco award for choreography of “For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” directed by Ntozake Shange. She joined Dianne McIntyre’s ground breaking “Sounds In Motion” in 1975 and danced with the company for eight years. She has worked closely with jazz artists Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, the World Saxophone Quartet and was mentored by original Savoy Ballroom dancers Frankie Manning and Norma Miller. A beloved New York veteran of arts education, Ms. Davidson has an extensive background in African American dance styles and led the African American Dance program at Wesleyan University for 17 years. In addition to teaching with Jazz Power Initiative, she teaches at the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp in New Orleans, and is a passionate advocate for making the authentic jazz dance traditions available to the next generation.
Senior Voice Teaching Artist Antoinette Montague, “Jazz Woman to the Rescue,” is an esteemed award-winning jazz and blues singer and entertainer who has performed internationally as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State. Ms. Montague is a Level III Certified Teacher of Somatic Voicework, the LoVetri Method(tm). She teaches at Jazz Power Institute for artists and educators and led Jazz Power Initiative’s first residency at Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). She is also a WHCR radio host and educator teaching at The New School, Marymount College Manhattan, Newark School of the Arts, Music on the Inside and Jazzmobile. Ms. Montague is the co-producer and host of the Zoom series “Music While We’re Inside;” in the process of developing Jazz Woman to the Rescue Radio Station; host on Heat FM radio, and a member of the WBGO Community Advisory Board. She has mentored dozens of young jazz musicians and vocalists over the past twenty years, passing on the knowledge of her experience and what she learned from her mentors Carrie Smith and Etta Jones. Her latest CD is “World Peace in the Key of Jazz,” with Danny Mixon, Paul Beaudry, Winard Harper, Jay Hoggard, and King Solomon Hicks.