Jazzline celebrates youth in the arts

At Bunnell Street Arts Center’s annual Jazzline dance performance, choreographer and director Jocelyn Shiro puts together a show that challenges the abilities of dancers ages 9 to adults. 

Shiro has been teaching and directing dance long enough that students who danced as children have now returned in adult roles, like Selina Mach. Another former youth dancer, Bo Yaki, sings in a recording, “You Are,” with her father, musician Matt Yaki, for a dance number.

A solid core of six young high school dancers and seven seniors, all of whom started as “littles” in Shiro’s ensembles, also shows how far the dancers have matured. The education of youth in their art is what Jazzline celebrates, and the purpose of the fundraiser for Bunnell, Shiro said. Proceeds support Bunnell’s Artist in the Schools programs.

“That’s why this means so much,” she said. “Not only are they turning into extraordinary dancers, they’ll showcase their talent.”

In the show’s finale, “Make Me a Boat,” Shiro challenged her youngest dancers. Everyone dances the same routine as the adults.

“I just said, ‘You know what. I’m throwing this out.’ It’s fast, it’s hard,” Shiro said. “All of these dancers surprised me — no, they didn’t. I knew they could do it.”

For this year’s production, Shiro takes advantage of a new video projection system at the Mariner Theatre. With last summer’s awesome weather, one day Shiro and lead male dance Wil Roedl went out and danced on the beach. Filmmaker Michael Walsh video taped them.

“We had such a beautiful summer with a lot of sunny days and low tides, I felt inspired to dance on the beach,” Shiro said.

The images of waxing and waning tides and Kachemak Bay serve as a backdrop in many of the dances. That doesn’t set a theme so much as inspiration. The tide brings things in and out, and can mean “love and loss and birth and death,” Shiro said.

“This show is about the beauties, the treasures and the losses in life with every change, with every tide,” she writes in the program notes.

In one number, “Skin and Bones,” Roedl and Shiro dance live on the stage with their recorded images behind them. Shiro said the duet isn’t done in response to the images, though.

“This dance is about one person who is living and one person who has passed away and they’re dancing together,” she said.

Roedl, a new dancer who Shiro brought in last year to provide some strength to the ensemble, is joined this year by his brother, John Roedl. Two women dancers sidelined last year have returned this year, Kara Bakken-Clemens, who had a leg injury, and Miranda Weiss, who gave birth to her second child. A new woman dancer is Amanda Miotke, joined by her daughter, Grace. Mach came back to the ensemble after dancing as a girl and going to college. Shiro said many of her teenage dancers have been with her for eight years.

“They have pretty much grown up dancing with me,” Shiro said. “They’re all my family. All the youth dancers are like my children, I know them so well.”

Bo Yaki’s vocal number came about when the younger high school students said they wanted to do a lyrical number. They chose Matt Yaki’s composition, “You Are,” from a list. Bo and her parents, artist Nancy Yaki and guitarist Matt Yaki, used to live in Homer. Bo is now in her first year of college.

“The Yakis, the whole family were important to the arts when they were here,” Shiro said. “And now Bo’s beautiful voice will be projected.”

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.


When: 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday

Tickets: General admission, $15; youth under 18, $10; youth under 10, $5

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: General admission, $10;
youth under 10, $5

Where: Mariner Theatre

Tickets on sale at Bunnell Street Arts Center and the Homer Bookstore


Artistic Director and Choreographer: Jocelyn Shiro 

Jazzline Dancers: Hali Anderson, Kara Bakken-Clemens, Ian Cambridge, Elan Carroll, Mina Cavasos, Thane Cunningham, Kaya Dalke, Harmony Davidson, Izzy Dye, Stella Dye, Eryn Field, Cecelia Fitzpatrick, Eryn Gillam, Hannah I’nama, Heidi Kauffman, Maya Kelly, Isabel Kulhanek, Xander Kulhanek, Selina Mach, Ridge Marion, Brenna McCarron, Charlie Menke, Wren Mikols, Amanda Miotke, Gracie Miotke, Khadicha Mukambetova, Lisa Nordstrom, Casey Otis, Hazel Pearson, Thea Person, Elsa Pietsch, Mychaela Pitta, Tanner Reid, John Roedl, Wil Roedl, Mystique Ross, Jade Schultz, Jocelyn Shiro, Ireland Styvar, Rebecca Trowbridge, Katlyn Vogl, Lawson Walls, Miranda Weiss, Ben Westphal, Emmet Wilkinson and Zane Wilkinson.

Production and Stage Manager: Pat McNary

Assistant Stage Manager: Janet McNary

Lighting Design: Sarah Jane Johnson

Sound Engineer: Axel Gillam

Theatre Manager/Assistant Lighting Design:
Jesse Bolt

Costume Design: Jocelyn Shiro

Music Editor:  Joel Pietsch


From left to right, Amanda Miotke, Khadicha Mukambetova, John Roedl, Joceyln Shiro, Wil Roedl and Kara Bakken-Clemens perform a piece from Jazzline at rehearsals Monday.-Photo by Aaron Carpenter, Homer News

From left to right, Amanda Miotke, Khadicha Mukambetova, John Roedl, Joceyln Shiro, Wil Roedl and Kara Bakken-Clemens perform a piece from Jazzline at rehearsals Monday.-Photo by Aaron Carpenter, Homer News

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