A master holds class and all that jazz

The Richland College Dance Program held a Jazz Master Dance Class, hosted by guest instructor Darrell Cleveland on Feb. 9. 

Cleveland has danced professionally with musicians En Vogue and Toni Braxton during his career. His aim was to expose students dance professionalism and styles he’s learned from all around the world. 

“I come from a different perspective,” said Cleveland. “I was out there dancing for about 20 years. I still perform as well.”

The students in Cleveland’s class were of varied ages and backgrounds. Suzanne Gentry, a 71-year-old mother of two and grandmother of four, said, “It was very hard today. He really worked us hard. We did a routine. At least I attempted to.”

The students started with stretches and warm ups to get prepared for learning some new moves. They got their feet moving, their bodies moving and their heart rate revved up. “Today was a lot of exercise; a lot of stretching,” Gentry said. “The last classes I was doing was more of a routine. He worked it into our exercises.”

The class members danced to a number of different artists, including contemporary ones.

Cleveland said he likes to dance to Beyoncé and New Orleans jazz. 

“I’ve been working with Gina Sawyer, discipline coordinator for the Richland dance program, for about two years, he said. “I came as a guest resident artist and I performed. She invited me to come in to choreograph and also do master classes.”