A Conversation With Giselle Anguizola

Loz Yee had a chat with Giselle about the origins of Girl Jam and what dancers might expect from the first Aussie Girl Jam weekend. Check it out!

 

You created the first ever Girl Jam back in 2005, what was the main reason behind it and what did you hope to achieve?

I created the first California Girl Jam in 2005 to celebrate the role of women in vernacular jazz dance and to provide the swing dance community with a workshop devoted entirely to the follower's perspective. In collaboration with Jojo Jackson, www.girljams.com were created. Since the California debut, there have been dozens of Girl Jams and several follow-centric dance events that have been hosted in nearly every region of the United States, and countries abroad.

Girl Jam is a celebration of women. It's an opportunity for women to inspire one another in a supportive, collective way and take this inspiration to the dance floor. It's a chance to take what has been "hiding" and let it shine. Girl Jams emphasize individuality and encourage the knowledge of Jazz dancing throughout its role in history, in hopes that women can bring these concepts to their partnered and non-partnered dancing.  As an organization, Girl Jams bring awareness to women's' rights and supports artistic achievements within the community to both enliven and continue this art form.

 

This is the first ever Girl Jam weekend in Australia and we are so excited you and Sara Deckard are both coming. For dancers who don't know what to expect, can you give us three reasons why someone should attend a Girl Jam workshop?

You'll rediscover your inner beauty and own them all.  You'll learn techniques, style and improvisation, which will leave you feeling satisfied.  It's all about YOU, so expect a feeling of euphoria.

 

There have been, and still are, many Girl Jam events across the US and internationally, from Denver to New Orlean to London and now Australia...how do you feel about seeing something you started grow so much?

It's amazing to see this grow internationally, absolutely beautiful!  I feel proud and inspired by it all, we want longevity for this project and it takes a collective mind to make that happen.  

 

What's your favourite thing about teaching at a Girl Jam weekend?

Feeling the peaceful, warm, fierce and creative vibe it creates within everyone.

 

Why should leaders take class at Girl Jam?

Leaders will feel less pressure to execute and perform in partnered dances.  They'll become more inspired by their partners, creating an equal communication within the dance - making it more pleasurable for everyone.  

 

Who are some vintage jazz dancers who inspire you/your dancing?

I've always been inspired by golden era dancers: Al Minns, Jewel McGowan, Dean Collins, Ann Johnson, Jeni Legon and Mabel Lee.  As far as modern vintage jazz dancers - to name a few: Corina Acosta, Lisa Conway, Jojo Jackson, Ramona Staffeld, Nina Gilkensen, Sarah Breck, Peter Loggins, Justin Zillman, and Jeremy Otth.  I like watching dancers with style and class, while pushing the dance to new levels.  I think it's important to add feminine and masculine aspects to one's dancing, refining technique and shapes but also creating raw, pure and formless energy.  

 

Have you ever been to Australia? What are you looking forward to about visiting Melbourne?

I've never been to Australia and I'm looking forward to meeting new people in a well established and successful scene!  I can't wait to hear the cool Aussie accent and say "mate" at least a few times a day ;)