Written by Matthew Hamilton
The Gunn Jazz Department will be holding a dance on November 21. The dance will include performances from the Big Bad Jazz Ensemble, the Jazz Band Two and vocalist from the Gunn choir.
Unlike most dances sponsored by the Student Executive Council, there will be live music to encourage students to participate in a new type of dancing. Swing dancing is encouraged by members of the band and an instructor may be brought in to teach new dance moves. No previous dance knowledge is required, instructors will be modeling dance moves the audience can try.
“It’s not currently popular to dance to this music,” Band director Margaret Billin said. “So there will be instruction on swing dance, and partner style.”
The style of dance is expected to adjust to the new genres of music. “Jazz dance is a more classical type of dance, instead of freaking,” Senior Daniel Lee said.
At most Gunn dances the music is provided by DJs, but the Gunn Jazz Band is offering students a unique opportunity to experience live music you can dance to. “Live big band is a really exciting thing to see,” Freshman Saar Singhal said.
“There’s a different kind energy with live music,” Band Director Keith Hunter said. “Being able to react to the audience, and see your friends playing sets live music apart.”
“It’s the difference between listening to a song on your iPod, and seeing it in concert,” Billin added.
The bands will be covering various genres that are not played at most Gunn dances. “We plan to start with some old-timey swing stuff, and then transition to more modern jazz,” junior Ajay Raj said. “Maybe we will get into some rock or pop tunes from the 70’s and 80’s.”
Jazz was originally created to be danced to, and this dance allows Gunn students to experience it how it was meant to be experiences. “Jazz is the first American art form that was danced to” Band Director Todd Summers said. “It’s the original dance music the Americans created. It was the first social type of dance music on this country.”
For students looking to deviate from the typical dance scene at Gunn, the Jazz Band provides them with a chance. “This dance gets them to branch out into a different genre,” Singhal said. “Jazz has a different beat. You get a different feeling when you try to dance to Jazz.”
The dance does have a cover charge of 15 dollars, but the proceeds will be going to support the Gunn Jazz Department. The revenue from the dance will be used to purchase new instruments, amplifiers and possible trips to festivals outside of California.
Raj believes this dance will be a nice alternative to the normal Gunn dances, and urges students to attend. “Come to this dance if you want to hear some really good music, from a really good band, with really good directors,” Raj said. “Come to this dance if you want to experience a new type of dance and come to this dance if you want to have a great time.”
Tickets can be purchased from the Gunn Music Department during lunch.