Billy Siegenfeld

Billy Siegenfeld – former jazz and rock drummer and high school actor; present-day actor and vocal-rhythmic theatre-movement artist; director of the performing and teaching company, Jump Rhythm®; faculty member in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University; writer of essays and plays.

His creative work. applied to both his teaching and performing,  focuses on developing a Theatre of Energy out of primal human behavior. This process turns fusions of rhythm-driven movement, singing, and speech into stories that laugh, cry, and rant about our species’ primary state of confusion:  feeling that we never have enough; tampering with Nature to get more than enough; and then, after years of pain, misery, and (hopefully) enlightenment, accepting that what Nature teaches us is enough. 

He uses 3 mantras to guide him through a day.  “Relax down to push forward.”  “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”  (Samuel Beckett) “In nature there’s no blemish but the mind. / None can be call’d deform’d but the unkind.”  (William Shakespeare)

 He is the creator of a unique system of voice-and-movement learning for peoples of all backgrounds and abilities:

  • Standing Down Straight®:  An injury-preventive, eco-activist approach to mind-body integration using gravity-directed relaxation as the source of postural, motional, vocal, and spiritual health.
  • Jump Rhythm®: A communally engaged-in, rhythmically vocalized, jazz-rhythm-based approach to performing arts training, guided by a combination of the African-originated concept of full-bodied rhythm-making called ngoma (“drumming and rhythmic song-dancing”) and the gravity-directed laws of nature.

Teaching

As a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University Billy teaches a variety of communally engaged-in, rhythmically vocalized courses in acting, dancing, and singing in classes open to all students no matter their discipline. Over the trajectory of his teaching and performing career, Billy created two original pedagogical concepts – Standing Down Straight®: an injury-preventive, “less is more” approach to mind-body integration using gravity-directed release as the source of postural and motional health; and, Jump Rhythm®: a community-directed system of body-voice training guided by the African-originated concept of full-bodied rhythm-making called ngoma (“drumming and rhythmic song-dancing”).

Billy’s Publications

Standing Down Straight®

If you’ve been taught that to be strong, confident, or beautiful is by “standing up straight,” Jump Rhythm® Technique will be a shock.

Read

Performing Energy

“Not a bad thing, independence, which is what hooked many of us on art in the first place.”

Read

Jump Rhythm® Technique

Six Action-Ideas

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