Sunday, August 5, 2007

11th Motor City Jam

Artspectrum announces the 11th Motor City Jam featuring, the legendary Norma Miller,Michigan premiere of Dreamtime Entertainment’s “The Queen of Swing” feature-lengthdocumentary, a tap workshop with dance master Chester Whitmore,Swing and Blues dance classes and dance parties

Detroit, Michigan – June 12, 2007 – Artspectrum is pleased to announce the 11th presentation of Motor City Jam (MCJ), a training ground for social and competitive dancers. This year’s three-day event will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 24, 25, 26, 2007 at the Doubletree Hotel, 5801 Southfield Rd at Ford Rd. in Detroit. The weekend offers classes in Blues dancing, West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Club Ballroom and a special tap dance workshop. Day, day-long, evening, weekend and individual tickets are available ranging in price from $5 to $99. Call 313.790.2311 with questions and/or to purchase tickets or request a registration form be sent to you. Logon to, then click on the Motor City Jam logo for event details, online registration and downloadable forms.

The Documentary—The Queen of SwingAt a time of civil strife in America, the birth of Jazz music and black dance played an important role in breaking down the barriers of equality. Norma Miller was at the center of this cultural revolution. She danced her way out of Harlem to share her vision of love and equality betweenall people. She’s has been entertaining us ever since. The film is a historical biography of Norma’s life. It also provides a behind the scenes glimpse of a bigger picture and the larger than life personalities of the jazz era. Among Norma’s family of friends are Louis Armstrong, Count Bassie, Duke Ellington, Sammy Davis Jr., John Hendricks, Redd Foxx, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor. Norma Miller is one of America’s cultural treasures. Her fabulous dancing, personality and stories have inspired several generations and will no doubt inspire many more to come.

The film got off the ground in 1994 after Norma Miller had a chance encounter with director John Biffar while performing stand up comedy in Las Vegas. She was screen actor Bill Cobbs narrates the story. Ten years of documentary film-making and research have resulted in a time capsule that transcends race. The documentary, "The Queen of Swing," produced by Dreamtime Entertainment, will be shown at part of MCJ's schedule at 9:30 on Saturday, August 25.

The Tap Workshop with Chester WhitmoreChester Whitmore is internationally known as a master tapper. He was a protégé of the late Fayard Nicholas and the late Leonard Reed. He is considered one of the premiere archivists of vernacular dance in the world. His life’s work has been the preservation of the traditions of black dance from its roots in African dance through slave dances, swing, jive, be-bop, jazz and tap eras into present day hip hop idioms. A highly renowned drummer, a bandleader of his own Big Band, an arranger and composer/songwriter, a high speed and tricky breaks tap dancer, a choreographer for fight scenes in Hollywood’s film industry, a stuntmen himself, a cinematographer, etc. He’ll offer beginning to advanced classes on Saturday and Sunday, August 25 and 26. MCJ’s Tap Workshop will, also, be held at the Doubletree Hotel. The entire session of seven classes is $70 if you register by August 1. Registration is $75 after August 1. The Workshop will culminate in a showcase performance at 4:15pm on Sunday, August 26. Tickets for the performance are $5, free if you are part of the workshop.

The Swing and Blues ClassesArtspectrum has a tradition of providing excellence in dance training to the metropolitan Detroit area. This social dance tradition began with 1996’s Swing Fling. That first 3-day event introduced West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop and Chicago Stepping to Detroit. Since then Artspectrum has presented dozens of workshop and competitive dance weekends. Motor City Jam continues this tradition this year with classes offered in West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Blues dancing and Detroit’s Club Ballroom. Classes may be purchased individually at $15 each, by the day beginning at $50 per and by purchasing the all inclusive weekend pass for $85 until August 1 ($99 after).

The ContestsMotor City Jam has five dance contests scheduled. Four of the five competitions are lead/follow meaning that couples dance as they would on any social dance floor. The fifth contest is open to couples who tap, do West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Salsa, Ballroom, Bop and Detroit , Latin, LA or New York styled Hustle. Showtime Not At The Apollo first place winners receive $500 prize money. Entrants may register for contest online at

Live MusicLarry Lee and the Back in the Day Band, scheduled for Friday, August 24, have been nominated as R&B Band of Year for 2005, 2006 and 2007 by the Detroit Music Awards. They were voted best live performance for 2006 by areas musicians, artists and entertainers.
On Saturday night dancers will be treated to RJ Spangler and the Rhythm Rockers. They back Alberta Adams, Joe Weaver & the Motor City R&B Pioneers. In addition, to backing these wonderful artists, RJ's Rhythm Rockers work as a self-contained group. Dance party tickets for Larry Lee and the Back in the Day band and RJ Spangler and the Rhythm rockers are $20 per person in advance, $25 after August 1.

Guests for this edition of Motor City Jam include:Norma Miller (NY, NY & Ft. Myers, FL) has a newly released book called, Stompin’ at the Savoy: The Story of Norma Miller. The book chronicles a significant period of American cultural history. In the 1930and ‘40s Norma was best known as a member of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, a group of dancers renown for performing an acrobatic styles of swing dance named after Charles Lindbergh’s “hop” across the Atlantic. The second world war halted touring but Norma never stopped dancing. She is, also, an award-winning choreographer, show producer, stand-up comedienne, and a television and film actress. In 2003, the National Endowment for the Arts honored Norma with a National Heritage Fellowship, the highest form of recognition for folk and traditional artists in America. Norma will be available for book signings and forum discussions on her memoirs and as yet untold experiences as a jazz dancer. Norma Miller at MCJ is funded in part by Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She will participate in a talkback session which will start at approximately 11am on Saturday, August 25 at the Doubletree Hotel. The talkback will be immediately followed by a book signing.

Chester Whitmore (Los Angeles, CA) is a teacher, choreographer, director and all-around entertainer. One of his teachers and mentors included the famous tap dancer Fayard Nicholas of the Nicholas Brothers. Chester has choreographed for the Commodores, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Prince, the late Sammy Davis, Jr. as well as the 22nd NAACP Image Awards. He has directed tributes to Lena Horne, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, the Nicholas Brothers and Norma Miller. This year Chester leads the two-day tap workshop which culminates in the Jam Showcase at 4pm on Sunday, August 26.

Andrea Deaton (Denver, CO) studied jazz, tap and ballet with Thommie Walsh (original "A Chorus Line" cast member, Joe Tremaine, award-winning choreographer and director Mallory Graham and while competing in Latin coached with Rick Valenzuela (from the "Dance With Me" cast). Andrea formed her own unique, sensual, funky style of West Coast Swing, which has brought her the national acclaim as West Coast Swing dance champion and continues to win competitions across the U.S. and abroad.

Markus Smith and Deonna Ball (Washington, DC) are one of the nation’s most creative and entertaining dance couples. They couple dancing is a blend of West Coast Swing, DC’s Hand Dance, Hip Hop and Funk. Their footwork is fabulous and their energy is captivating. Their natural charisma won them first place at the USA World Showcase Competition is Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Hotel making them one of 130 singers, dancers, actors, models and comedians from all over the world vying for the title of World Showcase Champions for 2006.

Paulette Brockington (Detroit MI ) is a versatile performer who performs onstage, screen and television and does voice-over work. She has competed in traditional ballroom, traditional Latin and swing dance competitions. She is winner of the 2004 World Swing Dance Championships West Coast Swing Jack and Jill, the 2000 Virginia State Open Swing Dance Championships Open Hustle Jack and Jill and the 2000 World Fast Dance Championship.

Tim Johnson and Becky Larson (Sterling Heights, MI/Clinton Twp, MI) are well-known in the area for presenting the popular West Coast Wednesday dances. Tim is, also, a sought after DJ who has spun for a number of our events since clocking in as a dance at the 1998 Swing Fling with Robert Cordoba and his then new partner Deborah Szekely. Since that time they have grown as competitors, teachers and DJs. While at MCJ Tim and Becky with teach. Tim will DJ.
Motor City Jam will host dancers from across the country. It, also, gives spectators an opportunity to watch exciting dance contests and listen to some of Detroit’s most popular bands during evening sessions. Check web site for more information. Secure online registration is available at http//
J is looking for sponsors for its dance contests. If interested please contact the event at or by calling 313.790.2311.

Artspectrum is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Michigan which has produced many dance events including but not limited to the Detroit Dance Festival, Motor City Jam, The American Lindy Hop Championships, The American Open, A Night at the Karaoke Opera and the Take Your Vitamins, Eat Your Wheaties dance weekend. For details on this event and/or other Artspectrum events please logon to for details on all of our events and to register or purchase merchandise. For more information call 313.790.2311 or email