By Kim Lien
After a lengthy absence, I longed to return to the world of dance. Last April, I met Doug Yeuell at a Seniors’ Dance Concert and he encouraged my return to the studio. My husband and I took marvelous ballroom classes from David Norton at JOMDC Atlas. Soon I was watching various classes in the other studios. One particular teacher kept drawing my attention. I observed Maverick Lemons’ class for many weeks, studying his style and technique. As soon as possible, I took a drop-in class to check it out firsthand. After only one class, I knew my instincts were correct. Maverick is an exceptionally well-trained professional dancer and also a very focused teacher. His level of discipline and intensity are rare among dance instructors and I feel incredibly fortunate to have discovered such a gem. JOMDC Atlas is the LEAST convenient studio for me, so it takes a very talented teacher to make the trip worth my time and commitment.
Maverick’s warm up is amazingly thorough. Afterwards, I feel as though I have had a full body massage with every muscle both stretched and relaxed. His floor movements are crisp and quick, and his combinations are highly rhythmic and bursting with energy. I have come to realize that I always learn something new from Maverick–whether it is a stretch, a movement, or a style. It is both challenging and rewarding to work with such a serious and dynamic instructor. Upon learning that he was presenting a Studio to Stage Performance class, I eagerly signed on. His creativity, expertise, and professionalism as a choreographer are readily apparent. He is demanding and unrelenting in his quest to elevate his dancers to perform at their absolute best. His standards are high, but attainable through hard work, practice, and dedication. He is a perfectionist who refuses to settle for “good enough.” It is a privilege to study with Maverick. His sterling qualities of talent, total commitment, personal sacrifice, and tough love combine to create one artistic powerhouse!
So hop on board Duke Ellington’s A Train with Maverick’s dynamic dancers as they make their way up to Harlem’s famed Cotton Club. The joy is in the journey as well as at the final destination. His Studio to Stage piece embodies the high strutting style of a bygone era. Through his creative choreography he has resurrected the heyday of Harlem. The nostalgic number is kept fresh with Maverick’s innovative movements and use of perpetual motion. The setting comes to life as passengers crisscross the station with flare rushing to catch their trains. Sassy strides string us along as we rediscover yesteryears’ Harlem. Nattily dressed men are showered with flirtations from chic, alluring ladies. Swagger and sway reign as we ride the rails to Sugar Hill in Harlem.
If you crave snappy rhythms and lively dance sequences, topped off with a generous dollop of pure delight, don’t miss Maverick Lemons’ jazzy entre de elegance. But, better yet, get yourself onboard to Atlas way up on H Street to jump, jive, and thrive with Maverick in his jammin’ jazz class!! A first class ride awaits you!!
Kim and her fellow Take The A Train Jazz Performance Class students will present Maverick’s choreography at the Studio to Stage Fall 2012 Showcase. Tickets are on sale for Saturday, December 15, 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 16, 7:00 p.m. at The Jack Guidone Theater. Want to get in on the action? Register for any Studio to Stage Winter 2013 Performance Class by December 13 and save 15%.