POSTED Tue. Nov 15, 2016


A Jazzy Collaboration

Jazz – like many New Orleans art forms – lives not only in parks and music houses but also in back alleys and courtyards, the souls of performers and in the hearts of fans. In New Orleans, jazz music is a constant presence, each voice, each movement and each note reborn and reimagined generation after generation.

On Wednesday afternoons, the jazz tradition takes yet another form thanks to a collaboration between the National Park Service and the Crescent City Farmer’s Market, which are offering Jazz Pilates classes free of charge.

Jazz performer and certified instructor Stephanie Jordan leads class from 4 until 4:45pm at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint (400 Esplanade Ave.) Stop by the market for some fresh produce beforehand and get the added perk of two-hour free parking. Parking is validated for shoppers at the newly added Farmer’s Market at the French Market’s Riverside Lot (turn on St. Peter St toward the river from Decatur) on Wednesdays until 5pm.

At the Old U.S. Mint (a part of the Louisiana State Museum system), the sound of jazz melds seamlessly with the historicism of the building to inspire health and wellness through movement and music.

The class is housed in a recording and performance room on the third floor, where jazz performer and certified instructor Stephanie Jordan melds her passion for music, movement and fitness into the hybrid workout that is Jazz Pilates.

The partnership is always looking for ways to bring alternative programs in health and wellness. “This is a jazz national park. My mission in life is to bring jazz to the world. What could be better than a combination of health, wellness, jazz and a national park dedicated to the art form,” says Jordan.

The class combines Jordan’s experience as a performer and a dancer with her training in Pilates to stretch and lengthen the body with movements designed to open hips and strengthen limbs.

The free class, open to all levels of practice, is a relaxing, mind and body opening experience combining movement and jazz. Participants are asked to bring their own mat and water bottle.

The Foundations of Dance

“Jazz Pilates is a configuration of modern dance and my experience training in Method Pilates,” says Jordan. “I was introduced to Pilates through The Physical Mind Institute, which was mind blowing, pre-Katrina I’m a jazz singer and what I found is that singing is physical. When my body isn’t strong physically, I don’t sing well. At least I don’t think I sing well.”

She employs the Graham technique, an American modern dance style created by choreographer Martha Graham. This pedagogy is remarkable in that it is widely regarded as the first codified modern dance technique, which established one of the hallmarks of modern dance forms: the opposition between contraction and release based on the breathing cycle. The other major principal that is heavily employed in Jazz Pilates is the spiraling of the torso around the axis of the spine.

Each evening, Jordan leads class through a series of controlled movements that blend strength and flexibility training. These traditional Pilates core and seat strengtheners are combined with an extended series of hip-opening seated exercises with coordinated port de bras (a classical ballet term meaning “movement of the arms”) to comprise the workout.

A few weeks ago, participants enjoyed the music of Out of this World, a jazz album by Jordan’s brother, Kent Jordan, who is a flautist. The album was also Stephanie’s first professional recording, made 25 years ago.

Crescent City Farmer’s Market

The Crescent City Farmer’s Market is the public face of the 501©3 nongovernmental organization Market Umbrella. Market Umbrella strives to create community markets that “utilize local resources to bolster authentic local traditions.”

They currently cultivate markets in the New Orleans area four days per week in different neighborhoods of the city. Shoppers can use cash or market tokens, issued at welcome tables that accept credit/debit and SNAP.

Tuesday Market: Broadway Street at the River
The Uptown market runs year-round, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of the Tulane Square parking lot, 200 Broadway.

Wednesday Market: 1235 N. Peters Street in the French Market
The newest addition to the Crescent City Farmer’s Market family is housed in the historic French Market from 1-5pm. Complimentary parking is available at the French Market Riverside Lot. Validation required.

Thursday Market: 3700 Orleans Avenue at the Bayou
The Mid City market runs year-round from 3-7pm at Orleans Avenue and Bayou St. John in the parking lot of the American Can Co.

Saturday Market: 750 Carondelet at Julia Street
The Warehouse District Saturday market recently relocated to the corner of Carondelet and Julia Streets and runs year-round from 8am-noon

More from the Louisiana State Museum
The Louisiana State Museum is comprised of nine facilities that are culturally and architecturally important to the history of Louisiana with several located in New Orleans. The local list includes The Cabildo, where the Friends of the Cabildo hosts weekly Yoga classes.

For more information about ongoing and upcoming events, head here.

Image via the French market Facebook page.

POSTED Nov 4, 2019


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    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


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