Shoulder Isolation – Matt Mattox Jazz Dance Technique – with Bob Boross


hi I’m Bob Boross and this is My Jazz And Tap Dance Life and we’re here again for another installment of Monday Mattox
every Monday I demonstrate one of the technique exercises of Matt Mattox. Matt
is one of the legends of jazz dance having had a tremendous career as a film
and Hollywood film dancer in the 1940s and 50s then as a choreographer and
teacher in New York up until 1970s and then finally moving to Europe where he
had another 35 to 40 years of influence on the burgeoning jazz dance scene in
Europe but one of his most incredible creations is his movement technique
which he calls freestyle jazz dance technique so today we’re going to do one
of the isolation exercises it’s going to be a shoulder isolation and this is very
particular usually in jazz dance classes maybe you do a shoulder up and down you
do a little circle and that’s it Matt has a very particular way of moving the
shoulder and I’m gonna try to explain that as best as possible of course it’s
going to have a coordinated arm movement that goes along with it and it will be
followed with a short stretch so here is a shoulder isolation exercise from the
Matt Mattox freestyle jazz dance technique okay so first we want to talk
about how the shoulder moves in many typical jazz dance classes we just lift
the shoulder lift the shoulder drop or we do some
sort of circular movement of the shoulder and that’s about it that you’ll
do for shoulder isolations and lots of times we think of using the top muscles
alright the trap muscles on the top and that pulls up that creates a little bit
of tension there let’s talk about the structure of the shoulder a little bit
you have the collar bone in the front or the clavicle you have the shoulder blade
in the back and they both meet together and then your your the bone from your
arm inserts into there so what we’re gonna do is instead of thinking of
lifting the top of the shoulder I’m gonna think of pushing from underneath
my shoulder blade so that’s where the movement and the sensation initiates
from the back of the shoulder blade to lift and down so it’s a pushing up
movement of the shoulder blade rather than a top-down grabbing and lifting
feeling alright so that’s what we have to find so what we’re gonna do if I just
do that by itself I’m going to push up in the shoulder blade
lift and then from there out and push forward and project down but keep the
chest lifted then I’m gonna lift up bring that shoulder up by the ear trying
to keep your head straight so you’re not gonna let your head turn and then drop
it down okay so I bring my arms to second actually we do a little in
movement so I pull the shoulder blade in slightly then lift and up and over and
down as I do this I keep that elbow bent in the palm forward so I’m not going to
turn and straighten then I lift up the elbow was straightened slightly at that
point and then it will Bend as I open up if I start to the left
I retract the left shoulder blade back I start to straighten that elbow lift up
by the ear and press downward in front then lift up and then pull open to the
side so I have one and two and three and four left side back up over and lift
we’ll try that again and right up and over keeping the palms still in space we
don’t want to let the arm lift we want to keep it still and up and out so
that’s our single shoulder isolation retracting in with the shoulder blade up
and forward up in and then pull out from there now what Matt always known for is
putting a coordinated arm movement that goes with that so what I’m going to do
is as I work with my right shoulder I’m going to pull my left arm in fold then
I’m gonna turn the fingers almost as if they point upward then lift and stretch
and then open as I go to the left shoulder I’ll pull the right arm in turn
the palm lift and open so without the shoulder it would be one two three four
one two three four if I add the shoulder it’s gonna be right shoulder and left
arm so we’re working in opposition one and two and lift that shoulder three and
open four one two and three four so we’re trying to
keep the other shoulder down as the right lifts and the same thing on the
other side we don’t want both in the pull-up there
are other exercises where you will work both but in this one it’s just a single
isolation so we have 1 & 2 palm lift and drop 1 & 2 palm lift again 1 & 2
lift drop 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 so that’s the shoulders and the arms now there’s also
a step over I’m standing in jazz first my feet are parallel hips width apart
what I’m gonna do is step over on two one two with a slight turnout bring one
knee behind the other stay there three I’m gonna come back on four come back to
parallel for one two stay three four then I do the same thing but stepping in the
back one two stay three four one two stay three four it’s a little bit tricky
because the shoulder initiates on one it’s a step on two the shoulder comes
back starting on three and you step on four so they’re a little bit overlapping
so I would have one step too so I have right leg forward right shoulder forward
and three come back four one two and three parallel four now I stepping behind
one two and three four one two and three four as I’m dropping into the plie I’m
keeping this nice and Centered there is no release of the pelvis there is no tilt
of the pelvis it’s nice and centered in the body okay
following that we step the right foot back stretching I’m going to shift my
weight into the back foot and do a contraction straightening the front leg
I do a ribcage pop isolation to the front
really in then I pull up to jazz first and
relevé from there we’re gonna hold and drop the arms down then we go into it’s
easy stretch and one flat back two over three roll up four then plie lift the
heels relevé and come down if I did that on
the left I would go one two three four and five six seven
relevé stay two three four five six seven eight and one three five seven
one two three four five six and seven so that’s the first version of the single
shoulder isolation in the Matt Mattox technique so let’s put it all together
one straight through so you’ll have it okay so we have one step over two and
three four one two and three now in the back one two and three four one two and
three four step back one two three four chest in six seven eight stay one two
three four five six seven eight one two three four five six seven eight one two
heels four turn the palms six left side one two three and five six back seven
one two three four five six stepping back on the left one two three four five
six seven one two three five six left foot to the back one two three four and
five six seven press it up three four five six
seven eight one two three four five six seven eight and one two demi plie, through the heels, press six seven eight and
that’s it single shoulder isolation now there are many variations that you can
add on to this especially at the end your flat backs you’ll double it etc so
many more things to go but that’s the basic idea
it’s very particular and how the shoulder moves and how you move only one
part of the body in the isolation and not let anything else be disturbed as
you do it so that’s the single shoulder isolation from the matt mattox freestyle
jazz dance technique on Bob Boross and My Jazz And Tap Dance Life

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