Professional dancer visits UW-Eau Claire

Free dance classes offered to students and the public with hip-hop artist James Morrow



Story by Colette St John, Staff Writer

Contemporary hip-hop artist and Chicago native James Morrow will make appearances on campus this week and provide free classes. These are offered to students and the general public.

Morrow has been seen across the country presenting and teaching dance.

Julie Fox is a professional artist, dancer, educator and choreographer. One of her missions for the greater community and UW-Eau Claire is to facilitate guest artists in a variety of cultural dance forms.

“These courses and dance programs as a whole are specifically geared towards enrollment engagement, which means all levels are welcome from beginners to experienced movers,” Fox said.

From Massachusetts to Illinois, Morrow has performed and taught dance all over the country, and is well known in the field. He was a part of the faculty of the American Dance Festival in 2010, works with many dance companies in Chicago and across the country, and currently resides as an assistant professor at Salem State University.

Fox said his style is urban African-rooted dance style, which he brings to the stage and to dance in general.

“This is the language of your contemporary area,” she said. “Hip-hop dancing is very much in the public mainstream as the contemporary expression of identity right now.”

Fox said she is excited for what Morrow may provide for students and the community.

“This is one of the beautiful things of having the dance program here on campus,” she said. “We are really able to give back to the greater community and provide these opportunities to work with professional artists who are actually out there working in the field.”

She stressed how important it is to take risks while not being intimidated by the experience.

“Maybe you have never taken a formal dance class before, so what?” she said. “This is a community-oriented safe-learning environment for people to just go out and try something new. Students won’t be asked to come in here and spin on their heads!”

Locations and times for the class vary throughout the week, beginning April 1 at 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Haas Fine Arts Center, and again at noon to 12:30 p.m.

On Thursday there is a hip-hop dance jam from 9 to 11 p.m. at the Lookout Hilltop Center. There will be a thirty minute instruction period before it begins, leading into a dance party for the remainder of the event.

At noon on April 3, the “Urban Body Talk: Dialogues in Hip-hop Movement & Culture” session begins in the Haas Fine Arts center where people may gain a deeper understanding of the culture surrounding dance.

At 7:30 p.m. May 7 through May 9, the performance of Danceworks 2015, under the direction of Fox, assistant professor of dance and of the department of music and theatre arts., will feature a variety of artists and groups, such as the Ensemble and Doks.