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Jazz Dance, BodyBlast!, BodyBlast 2 and The Gamut

with Bill Brown


First Person: Bill Brown's 32-year love affair with dance from KPCC on Vimeo.

CBS story on Studio A Dance and The Hyperion Corridor

CBS story on best fitness class in The Hyperion Arts Complex: Studio A Dance's home

CBS story on Bill and the dance biz

  Jazz Dance



Tuesday and Thursday 7:15-8:30PM, Friday 9:30AM-10:45AM, Saturday 10:15AM-11:30AM
Most of all, I attempt to create a supportive atmosphere in my jazz class. Also, fun takes priority when I teach. I say, "fun—first, discipline—second." In fact, I admit that I am a playful instructor and strive for a collective good mood during my class. My goal is to see every student walk away with a big grin when the session has ended.

Jazz class consists of an energetic standing warm-up followed by plies (which interprets into a slow, lyrical dance), then stretching and strengthening while lying on the floor. Very upbeat music is played at this time. The entire warm-up is approximately one half of an hour.

Next, we do progressions of steps in lines across the floor. These include practicing turns and kicks. These steps are included in a jazz dance combination that changes weekly.

In essence, students have four classes (Tues., Thurs., Friday and Sat) per week in which to learn the week's dance combination. Each of those days I take time to teach the combination from the very first step to the last so that if you only come to one of the four days, you will have the opportunity to shine. Jazz combinations vary from slow and lyrical to fast and funky and everything in-between. Even Broadway show music combos! The class culminates in a slow, aesthetic cool down. Level? Very mixed. If you are a beginner, I give simpler steps in the choreography while others may be given more turns.
about Bill




Thursdays 9-10AM
This aerobics/dance class averages 5400 steps (of various kinds) within an hour's time. Now that's working your buns off!

During this period I take participants on a ride of fast moving, easy-to-follow jazz, salsa and funk steps. The music I play is as diverse as the choreography itself. Whether it be blues, Motown, jazz, Latin, world,or pop, I often notice someone in the studio is singing along (an encouraged enhancement to the hour). All divas welcome! Ha!

Believe it or not, sometimes you may even experience a Mozart piece on the sound system (I sometimes use this genre of music during a brief balancing section of class immediately following the aerobics).

The remainder of the class consists of toning exercises. BodyBlast culminates with a relaxing stretch section. Ahhhhhhhh. And seriously, that is the only down time during the hour. We move, move, move!

Side note:I delight in knowing that my class draw varies from octogenerians (amazing, right?) all the way down to people in their twenties. Often I notice a first timer from the younger set stop to catch their breath, while some of the older gals who have been coming regularly show no sign of being puffed at all? No joke. Last but not least, my jazz student Luna took my BodyBlast class for the first time, and I asked her how she liked the class. Her response was "interesting, it's like dance on crack" ;-)


  BodyBlast with Stretch:

Tuesdays 8:30-9:30AM
From zero to 60, and back again in one hour! This class runs the gamut of movement. In the first half-hour we begin with a quick warm up, then launch into an intense cardio section that includes varied dance steps from the cha cha to the twist, and from the charleston to hip-hop, and many other moves inbetween. Hearts will beat fast and spirits will soar. Following this section we transition to a cool down that incorporates balancing techinques and barre work. From here we head to floor to tighten abdominals with slow intensity. Still on the floor, we seque into varied stretches where I apply techinques that allow participants to release tension in the lower back. The last few class minutes are dedicated to meditaive relaxation. I suggest mind techinques that allow your muscles to totally release with relaxed breath. .

I strongly adhere to the policy of relevant music drives body movement. Whether it be fast, slow, or even stillness of body, I carefully craft my playlists so that the perfect piece of music fits each and every section of class.

Oh, and don�t worry about intimidation as I set the tone for improvement by suggesting corrections to the group as a whole rather than to individuals. For example, if I see one person slouching, I will address the group" elongate your spine" and suddenly everyone lifts to their best posture! I hope to see you there.
about Bill

  BodyBlast 2

Saturdays 9-10AM
BodyBlast 2 has it all--stretching, cardiovascular strengthening, balance and more. I call the class well-rounded, but some might get the wrong idea (never round the shoulders!), so for now let's just say BodyBlast 2 is a total fitness experience.

I begin the class with slow stretching at the barre, then take our warmed bodies onto the center floor where we begin to move to upbeat music. This segment of class lasts approximately 35 minutes. All right, so there may be a few dance steps, but I repeat them so much that eventually all who participate do catch on. Then voila! The experience is enhanced tenfold.

We laugh, we move, we sweat.

After this, I play slower music and we spend the nextsection balancing. While standing on one leg, we raise the other in various positions coordinating the arms to help achieve perfect balance. So sometimes the moment of perfection may be fleeting--not to worry. Practice makes better-- then we make a great discovery--- our center of gravity. Wow. Even you might catch a glimpse in the mirrors and ask yourself "Is that really me, or some exquisite ballet dancer I saw on a stage once upon a time?"

Hope to see you there!


Currently this class is not available.

My StretchZone class includes stretching, balancing, musclework, along with care and attention to lower back. The hour culminates with a short focused meditation. "Pushing" is not part of my vocabulary, but rather nuanced stretching that can be expanded on in time. My goal is to articulate to you the importance of "lift," and "opening up" as opposed to the ubiquitous "core-support." Same thing really, but if you approach it differently, the body will open up like you have never experienced. That said, the torso --the body's frame --takes charge in my class: arm reaches begin from the torso--middle of the upper back, safe stretching of the lower back starts with a lift of the torso from the hips, finding your balance on one leg is greatly improved by reversing the gravity-bound upper body with a simple lift and breath. Although I verbally guide the class with continuous suggestions, music also takes a leading role in the hour's flow. I carefully choose tempos that fit the stretch. Be it jazz, classical or mellow pop, you will find that a simple lunge with a gentle push off becomes an unexpected (graceful) modern dance move, even to those who consider themselves dance or rhythmically challenged. Before the final stretches of the class we slip into meditation mode and "give into gravity" as the body becomes one with the floor, and a classical piece of music sends your mind adrift. I hope to see you there.




Bill & Bub (Studio A's mascot)
  about Bill

As a last resort to rehabilitate chronic lower back pain, Bill Brown started taking ballet classes in 1976. Although he loved the discipline and the art of ballet, his interest became more piqued by what was happening in the adjacent studio--jazz dance. More about bill here: An interview with Bill

Jazz dance.

The lure of the music and slick choreography caused Bill to take on a split major, if you will. Jazz dancing became his passion, and ballet his discipline. From that point on he set forth to sample classes throughout the Los Angels area. His mentors include Joe Tremaine, Sally Whalen, Sarah Reed Tayir, Christine Verse, Vince Patterson and Fred Walton.

After thousands of pirouettes and becoming intimate friends with Terrance Curtis (his favorite jazz instructor), the two set forth to open their own studio. Studio A Dance successfully debuted in 1982. At that time, Bill began teaching aerobics in their Los Feliz studio (now in Silver Lake), and soon after he led jazz dance classes, and continues today. Although Terrance passes away in 2003, Bill keeps the tradition of dance alive on Hyperion Ave!

In addition to jazz, cardio, and stretch, from time to time Bill teaches beginning ballet classes. He has also led movement classes in halfway house for recovering addicts, and has hired himself out as a private trainer. Bill performed in the review "Earl Carrol Revisited" at the Variety Arts Center, a rock musical entitled "Cosmic Sands," he choreographed a piece presented on the Orpheum Theater stage, strutted down runways in fashion shows and appeared yearly with Studio A Dance's resident company Cumulus. Bill also volunteers his time as choreographer for the local high school musical theatre productions. Bill now produces DanceSpot, a monthy theater venue at Studio A Dance open to local choreographers. Locally, for the past ten years, he has choreographed musicals at the local high school, John Marshall.

But teaching takes top billing. The supportive instructor allows his students to find pleasure with dance rather than perfection. By keeping the atmosphere positive and by sharing his joy for dance, Bill motivates students to the point of surprising themselves and excelling far beyond preconceived expectations.

A blast from the past (written from a small village in Japan, Summer 2015) I was so excited to see that you are still working your magic Bill Brown.
I doubt you would remember me as I only attended classes for a short time before taking a roller dance job in Japan. At 28 I had never yet studied dance, couldn't remember the combinations for the life of me but you told me, (and I remember like it was yesterday) that I moved well.
That compliment went a long way!! I'm still in Japan, and am now teaching dance based exercise to a small but wonderful group here in the tiniest village ever. Your enthusiasm and energy inspires me at every class I teach, and although I'm not a "real" dancer,
your inspiration has enriched my life and also of the people who I have thepleasure of dancing with. >>>> So thank you from the bottom of my heart, 30
years later!!! >>>> Melody

more from Melody: I went to your jazz dance class for a very short period in early '89, so I guess that makes it 26 years ago, although I remember it very clearly because it thrilled me to the core. I wanted to take some dance classes as prep for my dance skating job in Japan (6 month gig), little did I know that I would love it so much. So... I finally started my own little "dance" class in my village 8 years ago, only twice a week, learning as I go. I
know it sounds silly but I kind of channel you every time I teach, as best as I can. It's working because it is an hour of pure joy for everyone in the room. Such a gift! Thanks again for adding so much to my life, and the dancing ladies in my village. Sincerely, Melody

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