A Master Class by Luigi

Art Of Motion Dance Studio
17 Chestnut Street
Ridgewood, New Jersey
January 29, 2012

A Review

Who doesn’t know Luigi?

The Jazz Dance Legend himself (Eugene Louis “Luigi” Faccuito, ) visited Art Of Motion in Ridgewood on Sunday, January 29, to present a Master Class to 50+ dance aficionados.

Luigi, despite his life-long vision problems and increasing physical difficulties at age 86, was his own charismatic, inspiring self, directing the warm-ups and dance studies with the assistance of Francis J. Roach, who treated us to a compelling solo performance to end the class.

Olivia Galgano, Luigi signing T-shirt, and Ruth Gruaert

I got my directive from Lynn Needle: “Please, just sit and watch.” The studio was crowded, so she had a point. But what breathing person could sit still with that driving jazz rhythm permeating the air? Not me. I danced in my chair and then in the hall behind my chair, and even on the edge of the crowd when space seemed available.

The physical warm-ups before dancing, which Luigi properly insists on, are ballet-based but performed with Luigi style—a cast of shoulder; a carriage of head; a twist of body; shifting muscle tension in arm, leg, and torso; a clipping tempo; and lo—we have ballet transformed. The combinations likewise would be familiar to any ballet dancer. But—performed with the motional dictum of jazz with its “held” space and time, they are no longer Swan Lake but Le Jazz Hot!

I have not had a jazz class since the early 1940s (then it was Jack Stanley who was the jazz guru), but somehow jazz is in the body and Luigi knows how to set it free.

—Ruth Grauert, January 30, 2012