History

Creating Artistic Work Out Of Primal Human Behavior

Jump Rhythm®, formerly known as the Jump Rhythm® Jazz Project (“JRJP”), is a multiple-Emmy® Award winning performing and teaching company based in Chicago. Jump Rhythm® Jazz Project celebrates the communal spirit of all jazz-rhythm-based performance – dancing, singing, and storytelling in rhythmically syncopated conversations to the beat-driven sounds of the blues, jazz, funk, hip hop, and world music.

Lifetime Benefactors

Jump Rhythm is made possible by the generous contributions of individuals, corporate sponsors, and other funders who have supported Jump Rhythm from its inception.

Bernie and Sally Dobroski

Paul Edwards

Nacy Gidwitz

Ed and Helen Nicoll

Jump Rhythm® Jazz Project: 1990 – 1996

Jump Rhythm® Jazz Project was founded by artistic director Billy Siegenfeld in New York City in 1990. A duet he created with Jeannie Hill, “Joy Spring,” eventually evolved into an evening length work, “Romance in Swingtime.” Through an invitation from Gus Giordano to perform at the inaugural Jazz Dance World Congress in 1990, Jump Rhythm® Jazz Project received its first critical acclaim. Siegenfeld’s early works reflected his penchant for research and experimentation with ideas central to anatomical health and physical wellness, his love of rhythm as a jazz percussionist, his research of the full-bodied dancing of Fred Astaire, the Nicholas Brothers, and Gene Kelly, and narrative, emotion-driven choreography.

Jump Rhythm® Jazz Project: 1996 – 2015

Siegenfeld relocated the company to Chicago in 1993 when he was invited to take a teaching position at Northwestern University. From 1996 to 2015, the ensemble engaged in performances, lecture-demonstrations, and classes at Northwestern, nationally, and abroad. JRJP shares with people of wide-ranging ages and diverse cultures its uniquely “rhythm-first,” relaxed-body point of view called Jump Rhythm® Technique (JRT). Rooted in the gravity-directed, injury-preventive, mind-body-integrating alignment concept called Standing Down Straight® , JRT’s system helps aspiring and professional actors, dancers, singers – and, equally, all people who feel the urge to dance or sing when infectiously beat-driven music is played – to transform the moving body, accompanied by the scat-singing voice, into both a community-building and individuality-affirming instrument of rhythm-making. 

Besides being offered as workshops both world-wide and in nationally renowned performing arts centers like STEPS on Broadway in New York City and the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, JRT’s principles are taught in the curricula of Northwestern University, Southern Methodist University, Stephens College, Carthage College, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Dance Center Evanston, Randolph College, and Dance Inn in Lexington, Massachusetts. Wherever it lands, JRJP’s goal is eco-psychological as well as physically exhilarating. Its innovative point of view encourages people to use a body-sustainable, community-sensitive approach to living and making art as a means of connecting in life-affirmative ways to the earth, to oneself, and to each other.

Jump Rhythm® Today

Returning to his roots in theatre, Siegenfeld’s current work reflects a natural evolution of Jump Rhythm® Technique into plays that purposefully intermingle text, movement, and song. His artistic work focuses on creating 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 being: feeling that we never have enough; tampering with Nature to get more than enough; and then, after years of misery and then enlightenment, accepting that what Nature teaches us is enough.

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