JazzCotech are a specialised organisation of Dancers, DJs, Promoters and friends who promote and keep alive the UK Underground Jazz Dance and Music scene. The Music we love is JazzFunk, Latin, Boogie, Funk and Jazz Fusion, and we carry the torch for an original form of Dance that grew out of the UK Rare Groove, Funk, JazzFunk and Jazz Club scene which started in the mid-70s: Street-Fusion-Jazz-Dance. Heavily linked to the Music and its varying rhythm patterns, Street-Fusion-Jazz-Dance is a totally ‘street’ and purely ‘untrained’ style which is also less rigid than other, better known forms of Dance, making it ideal for novices and professionals alike. It’s far removed from the theatre style Jazz Dance commonly known and taught at stage schools across the world and, like many of the originators of this style, JazzCotech are Dancers with no formal training but lots of love and appreciation for the Music, as well as a rare gift of feeling and dancing to its varied speeds and multi-faceted rhythm patterns.
Artistic Director Perry Louis sees it as JazzCotech’s mission to keep the art of Oldskool Jazz Dance and Music alive and is proud to work with all his associates who have the same ambition and passion: to spread this unique phenomenon throughout the world, preserve it and pass it on to future generations.
JazzCotech are the only organisation who specialise in this area through club promotions, collaborations, performances and educational projects, and the Dancers have amassed a large following of enthusiastic students – young and mature. They are widely recognised wherever they go and are approached for lessons wherever they perform or even just let loose in a club. The group dances to anything from melodious Soul, Horn and Bassline driven JazzFunk, James Brown style Funk to 100mph Afro-Cuban, Be-Bop, Brazilian, Latin and high-octane Jazz Fusion. Audiences worldwide are often left agape in awe at the energy and complex movements of the Dancers who have joined JazzCotech from all over the UK and beyond. Amongst teaching and performing. JazzCotech run various club nights around the UK, where they regularly go back to their roots - the club dance floor.
JazzCotech Dancers are a UK Dance group specialising in the untapped art form of Oldskool Street-Fusion Jazz Dance, a Dance style which developed in the UK clubs in and around the '70s and '80s. It is unique to the UK and JazzCotech are the only Dance group currently teaching this style, both to adults and children. JazzCotech Dancers were founded by Perry Louis, an established Dancer on the Club Jazz and Funk Dance circuit. Having danced with other Jazz Dance outfits as well as performing as a Solo Dancer with various Jazz Funk Bands around the world, Perry decided it was time to take things further and keep this style and music alive. He already had an existing network of like-minded Dancers and used his connections to set up gigs with bands, in clubs and on TV. JazzCotech Dancers have come a long way from the early beginnings. Perry chooses his Dancers according to their individuality and ability to be leaders in their own way, this mixture being reflected in the Dancers’ various backgrounds and, of course, Dance styles. JazzCotech are a complete reflection of Street-Fusion Jazz Dance; they are influenced by Tap, Funk, Soul, Jazz, Boogaloo, Disco, Break Dance, Contemporary, Salsa and Lindy Hop. And although Perry has developed a very distinct JazzCotech style, he nevertheless encourages his Dancers to express their moves in their individual ways.
JazzCotech Dancers are the busiest and most versatile Jazz Dance group in the UK at the moment. Their shows are explosive and full of passion, energy and styles, which will keep the audience gasping for more! To mention all of JazzCotech’s performances would take up too much space:
Jazzcotech Dancers have appeared at all major international Jazz Festivals such as Montreux, North Sea (Holland), Furano (Japan) as well as national Music and Jazz Festivals such as Phoenix, Finsbury Park, Glastonbury, Brecon, Brighton, London, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Glasgow,
Dublin and Cork Jazz Festivals. As well as performances in their own right, JazzCotech have danced with numerous Jazz and Funk outfits and have appeared alongside well-known artistes such as James Brown, Maceo Parker, Bassie Orchestra, Jamiroquai, Wynton Marsalis and Jon Hendricks.
Tony started out in the clubs of the underground scene in the 80's dancing to JazzFunk, Boogie and Electro. Trained by "Reebok City Jam" he got into teaching Modern Dance that fuses oldskool Boogie, Hip Hop, Urban Dance and what is now called Street Dance, Tony has taught many students over the years and helped them to achieve confidence in their dancing. Through his passion and knowledge of music, Tony has enjoyed choreographing numerous numbers for young people and has delivered many Performance Dance Training workshops. In addition, Tony has performed extensively both in the UK and abroad and with over 20 years’ experience as an innovative performer and teacher, Tony was responsible for introducing Ashley Banjo (leader of Diversity) to Hip Hop. He also taught Chris and Wes, winners of Sky's “Got To Dance”. As well as performing and teaching with JazzCotech as a primary member of the group, Tony is a Dance Tutor at The River House Barn and the Limelight Dance company, teaching various classes and workshops around the UK.
Perry Louis is a product on his own; it’s almost impossible to “package” him up, as he is an all-round Jazz, Funk and Soul talent with a diverse mix of experience in Dance/Choreography/Teaching, as well as DJing, Promoting, Consulting and Coordinating Dance/Music Events, plus Producing. Perry’s career started in the early '70s when he discovered he had a healthy passion for Music and Dance. Growing up in the '60s listening to Ska, Blue Beat, Soul, R&B and Jazz played by his Uncle and Father who had their own little sound system (Victory Sounds), he - like many youngsters of his time - frequented various UK clubs, listening to Soul, JazzFunk, Rare Groove and Jazz. For Perry, the influences of those times became a way of life and a lot more than just a pastime pursuit. He loves all things funky – from art and furniture to clothes and cars. He is the modern day Huggy Bear (as in the '70s TV show Starsky & Hutch), with a vast collection of original '60s and '70s clothes, shoes and music to boot. Perry’s musical and dance influences span the who’s who of all things Jazz & Funk, from the '70s to modern times: Sammy Davis Jnr, The Nicholas Brothers, John Bubbles, Donald O’Connor, Buddy Rich, Incognito, Roy Ayers, Carlos Garnet, Jeff Lorber Fusion, Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters, Chick Corea, Cameo, Teramassa Hino, Sleepwalker, KJO, Norman Connors, Airto, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, George Duke, McCoy Tyler, Hi Tension, Light of the World, Central Line, Second Image, Mass Production, Fatback Band, Blackbyrds, Donald Byrd, Marva Whitney, Lynn Collins, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Bootsy Collins, Funkadelic, James Brown and more. Perry has had the pleasure of working with many of those Artists on more than one occasion, either as a Dancer, DJ or Promoter.
Perry moved into the Jazz Dance scene in the late 70’s, having visited local clubs like California Ball Room, Didos, Sands, Scamps, then frequenting now legendary club sessions at the 100 Club, such as Spats, Crackers and Royalty. One of his first Jazz haunts was the legendary London’s JazzFunk Club, The Horseshoe and Jazz club “Jaffa’s” where his Jazz Dance schooling began. Even when, towards the end of 1982/3, Jazz Music became underground to survive ever-growing trends which were sweeping the nation, Perry stuck to his guns by supporting the reducing numbers of Jazz clubs around the UK. After a break to concentrate on Athletics (alas with Music and Dance still in his body and mind) Perry’s rebirth as a Dancer coincided with The Wag club nights and the start of London’s “Dingwalls” Talking Loud sessions, when he could also be spotted at different Rare Groove clubs around the country. At that time, there was growing interest in the Jazz Music and Jazz Dance scene with Musicians, Media and DJs all wanting to learn about this very quirky, UK culture and new club were opening all over the place. Having been approached by numerous DJs, Promoters and Agents and after appearing in a number of Dance and Music videos and films, Perry decided that he was going to dedicate his life to his passion and dream to get British Jazz Dance recognised as an Art form. He was made redundant from his job in Advertising and took part-time employment so that he could concentrate on building up a network of Dancers, Musicians, Teachers, Promoters, Agents and DJs around the world who shared his passion of “Keeping the Art of Oldskool Fusion Jazz Dance Alive”. A big term for a big mission! Perry is one of the most well-known figureheads on the Jazz and Funk Music and Dance scene, not just in the UK but internationally. Hugely respected amongst Musicians, Dancers and Promoters, he continues to do what he does best – keep UK Jazz Dance at the forefront of quality Music and Dance events.
Ade’s introduction to the Jazz Dance scene started inadvertently from attending a number of Soul/Boogie/JazzFunk and Funk clubs in London in the very late 1980s and early 1990s. In those days, he regularly attended clubs such as “the Wag”, “the Pig”, “the African Centre”, “Dingwalls” and “Knee Deep” etc. During early 1990s Ade regularly met Perry Louis at the “Hi Hat” club in London and it was during this period that Ade interacted with a number of Jazz Dancers from a broad range of backgrounds from all over the country. In addition, Ade started to get Jazz Dance mentoring from the legendary JazzCotech Dancer known as Rocky. The combination of the mentoring and attending a number of Jazz Dance clubs/events from early 1990s to the mid-2000s was the precursor for his invitation by Perry to join JazzCotech Dancers in 2005. Since then, Ade has danced with JazzCotech all over the world. Like all of JazzCotech members, Ade has not had any formal Dance training but through being in the group, he has been able to grow and learn the structured and unique dance method taught by Perry without losing his individual Dance style.
Glen’s first interest in music originated from listening to his parents’ Reggae records on what was called a gram (the ole gramophone) back in the day. Whilst growing up, he listened to Radio stations such as Radio Luxemburg wich introduced him to Grover Washington, George Benson and Al Green. Coming from a big family, Glen would often imitate the singing and dancing on TV.
At the tender age of 13, Glen went to his first Disco and saw people getting down (dancing) to the music of bands such as Kool & The Gang, Gap Band, Chic and Earth Wind & Fire. Iconnic tunes like “Casanova” by Coffee stick in his mind as his inspiration to dance which started his journey into becoming a Dancer. When Glen started to explore the JazzFunk scene at the age of 16, his transformation began. By venturing further into other towns and other cities such as Birmingham, Stafford, Nottingham, Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester and Leeds, he shared he sharing his was able to share his passion with a lot of new friends who were into the same music and dancing as he was and of course meeting new people - and girls! There were club nights and alldayers up and down the country that he went to and through that, Glen developed his unique style of Jazz Dance.
Glen feels says that his musical influences stem from Ska, Reggae, Jazz Funk, Boogie and African to mention a few. His style is more Fusion and Boogie, which he says he’s been nurturing for more years than he can remember! He definitely has his very own style as well as his own identity in Jazz Dance. When Glen moved to London, he joined JazzCotech Dancers and currently, this is where his passion lies, apart from his other passion of DJing Jazz, JazzFunk and Boogie. Glen likes being around people who want to express themselves. For him, it’s about keeping it alive.
Kola is one of the best Ambassadors for Jazz Music and Dance there is and he is a true example of the opportunities JazzCotech have created for Dancers over the past 15 years. Like many of JazzCotech Dancers, Kola fell into Jazz Dance. A lover of all things James Brown, Kola danced his way around the London Funk clubs in the 1980s and early 1990s before becoming disillusioned with the ever increasing House clubs around town. He always stood out in the crowd, working at the famous Camden Market on the weekends, decked out in his trademark bowler hat. It was at Camden Market that Kola heard about a brand new club night in 1996 through Christiane – Messin’ Around at the famous Jazz Café. Kola was encouraged to ‘do what he does best’ i.e. dance. Before you knew it, he found himself on stage at Messin’ Around one night and the rest is history.
During the past 13 years, Kola has been an integral part of JazzCotech and an influential person on the UK Jazz Dance scene. Kola dances everywhere and anywhere – he is a lover of Theatre and all things classical and he is forever beating the drum for the underground haunts that play danceable Jazz, introducing many new faces to the scene; not just to Jazz Dance but also to the Music. And yes, you can still spot him easily by that bowler hat.
Christiane started her Dance career in 1996 when she was spotted by Perry Louis who asked her to join JazzCotech Dancers. Her roots very much lie in JazzFunk and Soul and the club scene of the UK, as well as her native Germany, and she is best known for her fast, multiple spins which she fuses with intricate, funky footwork. Christiane is a figurehead and ambassador for many women, encouraging them not only to attend Jazz Dance clubs but to have a go at dancing, too. She was a founding member of the hugely successful Messin’ Around club nights which were co-promoted and hosted by JazzCotech at the famous London Jazz Café in Camden for 12 years. In addition, she was instrumental in the development of Shiftless Shuffle Jazz Dance which is still going strong, continuing with the monthly tradition of Sunday afternoon Jazz Dance sessions since 2001. Christiane started teaching in 2000 when she became a part time Youth Dance Worker for Redbridge Council in Essex, moving to Luton in 2004 where she started to run Street-Fusion-Jazz Dance classes for both Adults and Young People. She formed JazzCotech’s Junior team in 2005, hand picking 7 young Dancers from both her groups in Essex and Luton. Under her leadership and mentoring, the JazzCotech Juniors performed at The Royal Festival Hall, various Theatres, The London Jazz Café and Luton Carnival, with 2 of the Dancers attaining Scholarships to attend University and Dance School for their Dance Degrees based on the work they did with JazzCotech Juniors. Like all of JazzCotech, Christiane has not had any formal Dance training and she feels that if she can do it, anyone can! It’s this belief that makes her such a great Teacher and her classes fun and relaxed; there is no wrong or right – individuality is the key, plus an open mind and a lot of enthusiasm. “I can’t do that” doesn’t exist in Christiane’s books and all of her students to date have amazed themselves by learning something they’d never thought they’d do.
Annabelle has trained in Street-Fusion-Jazz Dance, Locking, House, Hip-Hop Contemporary and Ballet. Her very first experiences of Dance came from attending Tempo Disco Dance Classes in Luton and competing in a few competitions at the age of 8. At the age of 12, she attended classes in Street Dance with Street Dance Productions at the Hat Factory in Luton. Annabelle was first introduced to Jazz when she came across an advert to attend a course in Street-Fusion-Jazz Dance with JazzCotech Dancer Christiane Hennecke, who introduced her to the basics of this style. Having attended 4 courses throughout 2003 to 2004, Christiane invited Annabelle to join the JazzCotech Juniors and as part of the Juniors, Annabelle performed at a number of gigs at Messin’ Around at the Jazz Café in Camden, Luton Carnival, The Royal Festival Hall and Bustin’ Loose. As well as Street and Jazz Dance, Annabelle enrolled in the Anne Gale School of Dance and attended Ballet classes during the Summer of 2005 before starting a BTEC College Diploma at North Hertfordshire College learning skills in Contemporary & Ballet, Dance improvisation, Choreography, Jazz and Musical theatre. As well as moving up to the JazzCotech “senior” ranks, Annabelle joined Hip Hop Crew Unseen Shadows in 2008 performing at the Luton Carnival and The Big Dance and was in involved in the run-up to the Olympics performing at the On Track for Gold Open Up Ability set at the Carnival Arts in 2009 as well as the Love Luton Festival 2012. In 2009 Unseen Shadows competed in the UK National Street Dance Championships, and in 2011 the group was awarded the Arts Beats Award for Supporting Arts & Culture in Luton and the London 2012 cultural Olympiad. After completing her BTEC, Annabelle continued her studies at the University of East London enrolling in a BA Hons Degree in Urban Dance Practice in September 2007. Annabelle was awarded a Creative Scholarship for her achievements in Dance and appointed class representative in her 1st and 2nd year of study. During her studies she also joined East London Youth Dance Company and performed at Lilian Baylis Theatre at Sadlers Wells. Leaving the company to focus on her studies, for her final year dissertation in 2010 she researched the style of Jazz Fusion and how it has developed in the underground Jazz dance scene. Annabelle also created a short film piece called ‘Street Jazz Fusion Dance ‘JazzCotech’ the story so far…
Annabelle continues to dance for JazzCotech and attends Shiftless Shuffle monthly sessions to get her Jazz fix! She is passionate about developing her skills as a Dancer and Choreographer and has recently started teaching classes to youngsters in Luton.