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"ONE HOUR WITH BILLY SIEGENFELD AND JUMP RHYTHM WILL NOT ONLY CHANGE THE WAY YOU VIEW THE WORLD, IT WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF. BILLY CAN GET A STONE TO DANCE WITH A FULL SPIRIT."

JEANNE HERRICK, SENIOR LECTURER, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

before-wedgeMelanie’s JUMP RHYTHM® Life!

Melanie’s JUMP RHYTHM® Life!

My first introduction to JUMP RHYTHM® Jazz Project was after being selected for their residency at Slippery Rock University. I along with 9 other dance majors spent two weeks of rigorous rehearsal with two company members learning Getting There, but this residency was NOTHING like anything I had been exposed to in all my years of dance training. We were asked to sing rhythms, let go of previous training habits, talk to each other, and form a community in such a way that made me feel like what I was doing had meaning to it far beyond anything I had experienced before. This was my “click.” From that moment on, I knew I would forever be a lover and practitioner of the JUMP RHYTHM® technique.

Melanie performing Getting There in Slippery Rock University Dance Department’s Winter Concert 2012.

I have been lucky enough to spend my past three summers interning with the company, splitting my time between administrative and artistic duties.  This time with the JUMP RHYTHM® gang has allowed me to find my “voice,” literally and metaphorically. The technique demands that you be in full awareness of your body, the bodies around you, and the music at all times. I had never before known what it meant to create music with your body and voice, and this was a scary concept to grasp initially. I was scared of having my voice heard. I was scared of being wrong. After spending time reflecting why this was such a struggle for me, I realized that I too was scared of having my voice heard in life. While I had all of these opinions, questions, and disagreements bottled inside me, I felt the only way to succeed was to continue stifling these thoughts until they went away. But what I didn’t realize is that 1) feelings don’t just disappear,  and 2) they are probably there for a reason. So I began listening to my gut, asking questions, seeking more information, and sharing my thoughts with others to create a sense of community. JUMP RHYTHM® taught me to speak up, to sing, to share ideas, to ask questions, to take risks, to break bad habits, and perhaps most importantly, JUMP RHYTHM® taught me how to be myself.

JUMP RHYTHM® Summer Intensive 2012

JUMP RHYTHM® Summer Intensive 2013

JUMP RHYTHM® Summer Intensive 2014

There is a common theme with all of the blogs here, that exposure to the JUMP RHYTHM® technique, Billy, and the gang is nothing short of LIFE-CHANGING.  As a dance major in college, I was always fearful of career rejection because I am not tall, thin, or flexible. And as a visual art form, most dancers are required to look a certain way physically in order to get jobs and find success as a professional. This is another way that JUMP RHYTHM® is so special. To do the technique you don’t need to be extremely thin or flexible or able to kick yourself in the face; you just need to be willing to give into what your body naturally wants. JUMP RHYTHM® is not about the external look, or shape. It’s truly movement from the inside out, only asking you to FEEL. In a society where expressing emotion other than happiness is so frowned upon, I found it refreshing that I was allowed to explore the raw emotions inside of me.

This is the appeal of JUMP RHYTHM® that causes anyone introduced to it to fall in love; it is a technique made for ANYONE and EVERYONE. How refreshing, right?  So go see their 25th Anniversary Season performance in October. Commit to the JUMP RHYTHM® Summer Intensive 2015. Follow them on Facebook. Whatever way best suits you. But I promise…. You will NOT be disappointed with introducing JUMP RHYTHM® to your life.

Originally from Northern Virginia, Melanie Calhoun attended Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania to pursue dance and psychology. She graduated May 2013 with her two Bachelor degrees, and is currently working on her Master’s at SRU in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in youth.

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