Brandi Coleman is assistant professor of jazz dance in the Division of Dance at Southern Methodist University, where she teaches Jump Rhythm® Technique - a jazz-rhythm-based movement approach that transforms the moving body into a rhythmically accurate percussion instrument. She was a performing member, rehearsal director, and associate artistic director of Jump Rhythm Jazz Project (JRJP), a Chicago-based dance company founded by Billy Siegenfeld that celebrates the communal core of jazz performance – dancing, singing and storytelling in rhythmically syncopated bursts of energy.
Coleman received an Emmy Award in the category of “Outstanding Excellence On Camera/Performer” for her work in the multiple-Emmy-Award-winning documentary, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project: Getting There, produced by HMS Media and aired on PBS. She has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as a part of the JUBA! Master of Tap and Percussive Dance concert and has toured nationally and internationally with JRJP to Finland, Italy and Canada. As a teaching artist, she has led more than 40 choreographic and teaching residencies at universities across the country and internationally where she teaches technique classes and repertory to students in the areas of dance, musical theatre and acting. She also served as adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University and Carthage College, and as a visiting guest artist at Stephens College.
Her emotionally expressive choreography, often set to jazz, blues, and funk music, has been presented at the Southern Theater (Minneapolis), Links Hall (Chicago), New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts (Baton Rouge), Moody Performance Hall and the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts (Dallas), Northwestern University, Stephens College, Carthage College, University of Dubuque, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Southern Methodist University.
Coleman’s pedagogy, writing and choreography centers the origins of jazz dance that are specifically born of the African American experience; she upholds a deep respect and understanding for the intertwining of the historical, socio-political and cultural contexts that are at the core of jazz dance. Her creative and scholarly research examines the performative nature of gender, specifically in the female moving body as it relates to jazz dance, and her choreography aims to disrupt the binary, societally induced constructs pertaining to gendered movement through egalitarian movement aesthetics that can be considered gender-inclusive or gender-expansive.
She regularly presents her research on embodied, rhythm-driven movement at the National Dance Education Organization’s national conferences and most recently presented her embodied scholarship on “Choreographing Women in Jazz” at the NDEO Special Topics Conference in Newport, Rhode Island. Prior to the onset of the global pandemic, she was also scheduled to present this research at the Future(s) of Dance Education(s) International Conference in Trondheim, Norway, sponsored by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Department of Education.
B.A. in Dance, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL
M.F.A. in Performing Arts: Dance, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Rhythm-generated jazz dance; gender expression and representation in jazz dance pedagogy, performance, and choreography; intersection of race and gender as it pertains to the commodification of the female moving body in jazz dance
“Performing Gender: Disrupting Performance Norms for Women in Jazz Dance through Gender-Inclusive, Human-Centric Choreography.” In Rooted Jazz Dance: Africanist Aesthetics and Equity in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Lindsay Guarino, Carlos R.A. Jones, and Wendy Oliver. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2022.
|Jazz I||DANC 1231|
|Jazz II||DANC 2231|
|Jazz III||DANC 3231|
|Dance History III - Jazz Dance||DANC 4375|
|Senior Capstone||DANC 4291|
|Choreography for selected Hope Show dance concerts|
|Rehearsal director for selected Hope Show dance concerts|