With powwow season winding down, there is often talk about the dancers seen at competitions and exhibitions across North America during the summer months. The CPN Family Reunion Festival, Potawatomi Gathering of Nations and hundreds of other powwows across the U.S. and Canada draw dancers of all levels and tribes together. One Potawatomi dancing this summer was Maryland-based Tribal member J. Davis Hobdy, though he wasn’t on the powwow circuit.
The classically trained dancer and dance instructor was amongst those on the floor at the 2015 World Congress on Dance in Miami, Florida. Hobdy spoke with the Hownikan about his participation in the annual event.
How did you get involved in performing the jazz dance at this year’s World Congress on Dance Research?
“I was asked to perform a dance in the style which I presented for group workshop. As a specialist in jazz dance who was ranked among the top seven jazz dancers between the ages of 17-21 in the USA in 1986, I wanted to commemorate thirty years of teaching jazz dance with a solo that showcased its history in a short period of time.
“The song was “Dancin’ with Myself” as sung by Kevin McHale from Glee. During this retrospective of American jazz dance, I included some moves from social and ballroom dance which tied into the theme of the evening’s events and the events marking the end of Amateur Ballroom Dance Week.”
What’s the significance of the event being held in the U.S. this year?
“This was the first time a section of CID-UNESCO has ever hosted a World Congress on Dance Research in the U.S. Congresses have previouslypreviously been held in Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Russia, Japan and the Republic of San Marino to name a few, but never in the U.S.”
Tell us a bit about your work at the County Dance Conservatory and how it relates to this event?
“As school director and owner of County Dance Conservatory in West River, Maryland, I attend these international Congresses on Dance Research to further promote the American dance forms of jazz and tap. Often, I take members of our teen and adult performing companies to present works at these events to serve as cultural ambassadors through dance.
“Due to the timing of this event, however, I had to attend, present and perform alone. As a result of my teaching and performance, I have been able to invite international guest instructors to work with our students and collaborate with dance studios throughout the world in future endeavors. I strive to enrich our students with a global knowledge of dance and other cultures so they may have a wider range of opportunities in dance and life once they leave our studio.”
If you would like to learn more about J. Davis Hobdy or the County Dance Conservatory, please visit http://countydanceconservatory.com/new/.