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Getting to know Dollie Henry MBE before her Jazz Masterclass at JazzDayz Bamberg

JazzDayz Bamberg 2024 is just around the corner, and will be featuring world renowned teachers including esteemed MBE Dollie Henry & Jorge Vasquez. We caught up MDance Creative Founder Melanie Day who will be teaching Musical Jazz, to learn more about her class and the journey that led her to this point.

What can the dancers expect from your class?

My Musical Theater class is for everyone who loves Musical theatre and already has a fundamental knowledge of dance technique, whether its Jazz dance, Ballet, Modern or Hip Hop. As the Musical Theatre world offers such a vast range of styles and music, the dancers’ background is not important. My class will always start with a Warmup and a few technical exercises, usually to Musical Theatre Tracks and I invite the dancers to sing along, should they know that particular song. It is a journey through the world of MT which is why I start the class that way already to get in that frame of mind. MT is storytelling through music, dance and text. Dance tells the story through digging deep into your core and your soul, utilising your dance training and technique in order to portray the feeling that particular piece of MT is telling – so it becomes a piece of theatre.

What got you into Dance?

I started to dance at age 3 and it was my moms wish for us girls to walk nicely and also to help with my flat feet. Deep down though I think it was her own wish to dance when she was a young girl but times were harder then and her parents couldn’t afford to send her to a ballet school. So she was living her dream through us girls. Ballet was my first love, then came Tap when I was 10 and the Jazz dance took over and went to first place when I was 13. I was fortunate enough to have had great dance teachers in my years of training, most of whom I am still in contact with. I am lucky to have been able to make a profession of my beloved hobby and I can look back onto a career of over 20 years, travelling the world.

Who was or is your inspiration / Idol?

As a young girl I remember watching “A Chorus Line” in slow motion countless times to be able to learn the choreography off the TV. “ The girl in the green two set” – Michelle Johnston was my absolute favourite. Her first few counts of dance routine when she got pulled to the front in the audition scene was everything to me! I just wanted to be her and on some level I felt I was her – a shy dancer in the background. My biggest inspiration though and also the moment I knew I wanted to dance professionally was when I saw a performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre production of “Revelation” when I was 13 years old. It had me mesmerized and it is still my favourite pieces of Jazz Dance Theatre Art. My all-time inspiration in Music was Michael Jackson. His enormous feeling for music and his incredible sense for rhythm has had a huge impact on my ability to “feel” the music as I listened to his records backward and forwards, knowing every song and syllable.

If you could give your 18 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

The world is your oyster and it is upon you to take a taste of everything it has to offer – Go for it! Luckily I did do just that, but I would give this advice to any young person.

What does Dance or Jazzdance in particular mean to you?

Jazzdance or Dance in general and I have a special bond. It is ME time, my time to express what ever I want, whatever I need at that particular moment, letting go of any rational thoughts and feelings – its escapism. I helps me to reset my inner self, reset my emotions and regain perspective. It is a form of therapy for my mind, body and the soul as I can get completely get immersed into the music and let myself fall entirely. It is my happy place and where I can be just me without “trying” to be something or somebody. I can forget everything around me – and I do! I forget time, the feeling of hunger or literally feeds me.

Excitement is building for JazzDayz Bamberg 2024 with Melanie on board. Secure your spot now! Don't miss this enriching opportunity at Body & Soul on February 3-4, 2024. Register now!


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