Joshua's New Jazz

WCS & ECS Dancers,
For several months I have been observing a new unique style of dancing that has been intermingled with the Lindy, which in a past post I delineated as Eight Count novelty moves taken from the Shim Sham and the Big Apple dances of the 1930's.
Last Sunday August 10, 2003, I was at Joshua's 3rd Street Venue held outdoors on the Santa Monica Promenade, and for over 3 hours I witnessed some 30 couples dancing what appeared to be a mixture of Lindy variations, but one incident hit me like a light bulb suddenly being turned on in a dark room.
Joshua, who sponsors this FREE Venue on his own time and at his own expense and D.J.s with the best collection of modern Jazz danceable music in town, Joshua was induced by Michele Shelton from his D.J. console to join her in a dance, and as Joshua rose to join Michele, I could not help announcing aloud like a Master of Ceremony, "Joshua and Michele! Show Time!", knowing in advance they would perform an extraordinarily entertaining dance. And from the very first moment of their dance they went into modern Jazz moves that were uniquely different from any Lindy/Swing dance form in both rhythms, mood and foot patterns, which are the defining factors of a unique dance.
I found myself thinking, 'This is a completely new dance form reminiscent of the Modern Dance of Catherine Dunum of the 1940's and 1950's, but with a more rhythmic and truly free expression of the music' then the old Modern Jazz forms with their more balletisian disciplined styling.
And Joshua Castleman was and is the leading proponent of this dance form, a dancer who I have been watching progress in this direction for the past three years, thinking he was just throwing in a few eight count novelty moves. And once again, Joshua like many former dancers, brought to my attention his uniquely, 'New Jazz' while dancing in the street, 'The Santa Monica Promenade'.
But as Joshua and Michele continued to dance, they continued fascinating and entertaining me with their completely new dance form, seeming never to go into formal Swing, which can only be described as New Jazz and all 30+ couples, with few exceptions, were duplicating the Joshua Style of the New Jazz Dancing with remarkable innovative moves that tickled my funny bone and thrilled my nervous system with a euphoric sensations as I realized I was witnessing the 'Birth' of a completely new dance form that could only be described as Joshua's, 'New Jazz!'
Black Sheep, you friendly instructor.
Joe, Lindy Hop has used Jazz Steps since it's inception, proof enough is the step George Snowden used that bears his name. The "Shorty George", a common dance step in the Lindy Hop vernacular, it appears in the Lindy Hoppers version of the Shim Sham and Ryan's Jitterbug Stroll, as wel as being known by various other names in both West Coast Swing and Carolina Shag.

Katherine Dunham Technique is about as close as a normal person is going to get to authentic Jazz. After her the emphaiss was really placed on Ballet influenced movement and steps... the training methods of the dancers was nearly replaced entirely by ballet training/warm-ups etc.

The free-style form of Lindy Hop you describe sounds extremely similar to the stylistic evolution that has been happening for the last four years. The first driving force in this new style was the Ithaca, NY based Minnie's Moochers performance at NADC 2000 to Nina Simone's "Love Me or Leave Me". Without seeing the specific couple you cited of course I can only guess, but I wish you could find and view the tape of that performance and give a contrast and compairson to that Moocher performance and what Joshua and Michele did. I'm interested to know if it is the same, a further evolution of that style (like what is being called "Groove" a name I detest) or something totally distinct.

Can you discuss what rhythmic patterns and mood they were using? How did it differ from the Lindy Hop of say Frankie Manning and Anne Johnson, or Dean Collins and Jewel McGowan? What about modern lindy Hoppers like Steven Mitchell and Virginie, Kevin St. Laurent and Carla Heiney or Jen Salvadore and Justin Zillman.

edited to fix typos
Name Joshua' new dance

Dance Lovers,
Joshua has definitely created a new dance form. You have to come to his Venue this next Sunday, August 24, at the Santa Monica Promenade from 4 to 8 pm to see and enjoy a dance that allows you full emotional expression in concert with your partner. I stake my reputation on the fact that you will come away awed and exhilarated after you joined in this dance that calls forth all our instinctive humorous and sensuous emotions and finds an erotic release within minutes of performing it...and you need no training to learn, it's almost like some kind of African ritual. Joshua has been developing along this dancing style since I met him in 2000, but it was only last Sunday that I saw his dance form come together as an integrally unique dance form. I can think of four names to call Joshua's dance, but I'll leave it up to you who have seen Joshua dance to make your own choice of a name!
Here are some suggestions for you to choose from:
1) Joshua's Jive;
2) Joshua's Jazz;
3) Joshua's jump;
4) Joshua's disco;
5) Any another ?

Black Sheep, your friendly instructor.
I, for one, will not be able to make it to Santa Monica... that is very far. Can you get a video for us? I would love to see the new and exciting dance!!
Joshua's Response

I spoke to Joshua this past Sunday during his Swing session on the 3rd Street Promenade, and told him of your request for a video of the type of dancing that is becoming popular. And for a better description, it's a free form style to pop jazz music. Joshua thinks he met you a couple of years back. Joshua smiled modestly at the suggestion of a video.. Making a video, I think it is a good idea for many reasons.
WCS dancing is becoming uniquely different from the Chain Studio WCS Style of the 1950's and for the better I believe.
Although I am a dyed in the wool Savoy Lindy Dancer, I still enjoy and am impressed with this free form dancing that Joshua has set the style for. And I feel if this free form should have a name, I vote for 'The Joshua Jive'. Any objections or agreements?
And D'nice, I have to admit I sometimes feel guilt ridden by my caustic remarks concerning you disagreements. But everytime I sit down ready to be nice to D'nice, he rains on my parade.
However, if he can take part of the blame as he admits for our adversarial attitudes, I can take the rest of it.
Black Sheep, your friendly instractor
Re: Joshua's Response

Thank you for looking into it... I just want to see... I'm not looking for production value... just so we all know what you're talking about without as much room for interpretations-- dance is very visual... words just can't do it for everybody-- I'm one of those everybodies!

Black Sheep said:
Joshua thinks he met you a couple of years back.
As nice as that sounds I highly doubt it... unless he was at the Regional Puppeteers of America Festival that took place in LA in 2000-- which I had a killer Potpourri piece invloving paper and masking tape! LOL!! I was awarded a roll of Tin Foil for that!! Yup... my modesty only goes so far! :D (that sad part is that I still have the tin foil!)

I really haven't been dancing long and most of that has been in CT which would lead me to believe that I have not had the opportunity to meet your friend. And, to be honest, I'm not sure why he thinks he's met me-- he couldn't possibly know anything of me :shrug:

Black Sheep said:
And I feel if this free form should have a name, I vote for 'The Joshua Jive'. Any objections or agreements?
This would be another good reason to pass along some video footage. How else can we tell if it's a jive or a jump? :wink: Or form any opinion of it at all for that matter? Thanks!

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