Jess Murray

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Jess is recognized as a leading artist in the UK’s rhythm tap community. She shares her passion for the art form through her work as a professional performer, teacher and project manager of Tap Rhythm Project. Her inspiration comes from ‘Hoofing’, which places musicality, improvisation and self-expression at the heart of the tap dancers craft.

Performance:

Jess enjoys diversity in her work as a creative artist and performer. Her eclectic music background and interest in visual and performing arts have led her to collaborate with a wide range of different musicians and artists, performing in theatres, music venues, festivals and street performances.

See Jess’s Youtube Page for videos of her performances

As a Hoofer, Jess is privileged to have collaborated and performed with some of the leading exponents of the field. She has appeared twice at the Purcell Rooms as part of London Jazz Festival with Heather Cornell and Andy Milne and Bandwidth in Finding Synaesthesia (November 2007) and again with Andrew Nemr and Junior Laniyan as part of the Michele Drees Jazz Tap Project (November 2013). She has been a member of UK rhythm tap company AboutTime since 2006 performing at The Tristan Bates Theatre in the West End, Chequer Mead Theatre in East Grinstead, Bath Dance Festival, Unity Festival – O2 Arena and the Greenwich Dance Agency cabaret evening amongst others.

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Dancing with Junior Laniyan at the London Tap Jam

She was thrilled to perform as part of the opening act for the legendary John Hendrix at Ronnie Scotts (Nov 2010). Jess is widely known for hosting tap jams for Tap Rhythm Project Tap in Manchester at Matt and Phreds Jazz Club and Band on the Wall and also guest hosting the London Tap Jam at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club.

Jess is a lead artist in the Arts Council funded project SoundMoves that explores dance and music improvisation across a range of different dance forms and music cultures. With a group of six exceptional musicians and dance artists including Al McSween, Guiliano Modarelli and Manchester’s celebrated Myke Wilson, Jess created work that was performed at Band on the Wall (April 2013) and Contact Theatre (May 2013).

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Conducting the cast of Les Commandos Percu

Other professional performance contracts have included three UK tours (October 2012 – February 2014) and a run at Glastonbury Avalon Stage (June 2013) as a Clog dancer with sell out show The Lock In which received five star ratings from the Independent and Telegraph during the Edinburgh Fringe (2013).

Jess also worked as a dancer for the French pyrotechnic and percussion company Les Commandos Percu performing in France, Belgium, Holland and collaborating to create On the Night Shift for an audience of 20,000 at the Olympic Opening Ceremony at Windermere in 2012. Jess worked for Fittings Multimedia Arts to develop the popular street show Master Juba – a street performance blending tap, voice and song to tell the story of the first tap dancer William Henry Lane which she performed at The National Theatre, Kendal Mint Fest and in Liverpool and Belfast. A talented and experienced choreographer, Jess was commissioned by the BBC to create an ensemble tap piece for the children’s show Zingzillas in 2012.

Currently Jess is choreographing work for Manchester based Tap Rhythm Collective and collaborating with Nottingham based percussionist Dave ‘Stickman’ Higgins as part of In Productions exploring a dynamic mixture of jazz, samba and funk driven rhythms! And is a member of MotionFlow dance company.

Tap Rhythm Project:

Jess’ commitment to championing the art of tap dance led her to establish Tap Rhythm Project, a community dance project, dedicated to raising awareness of the histories and culture of tap dance through courses, workshops with exciting guest artists and live music tap jams. Since it began in 2006, TRP has expanded to become a national initiative and has enabled hundreds of people to participate in events in Manchester, Liverpool, London and soon…Nottingham. In Manchester a new performance group Tap Rhythm Collective has grown as an offshoot of TRP for whom Jess is choreographing performance pieces as well as passing on classic repertoire from the Hoofers.

Teaching and Facilitation:

Jess is a highly versatile teacher and facilitator who develops learners creative awareness alongside their technical skills. She is able to offer her knowledge of musicality, improvisation and physical technique within the historical and cultural contexts of the art form. Since 2006 Jess has taught extensively for Tap Rhythm Project in venues across the North West such as the Lowry Theatre and Band on the Wall where she co-delivered courses in rhythm tap improvisation for the SoundMoves project. She was resident tap teacher at The Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts or LIPA for five years (2005-2010) during which she choreographed many pieces on students including Caravan, which was performed at Move It 2010. Jess has facilitated many workshops for organizations such as Associated Tap dancers, London Tap Jam, FACT in Liverpool and the Centre for Advanced Training at the Lowry Theatre. Jess worked from 2004-2008 as a dance tutor at The Manchester College. She teaches at AEDA the Arts Academy in Nottingham and delivers educational work for Dance4.

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Performing at The London Jazz Festival in November 2014 with the Michele Drees Jazz Tap Project