Written by | Ray Cornelius
Congratulations to my friend and celebrity dance choreographer Juel D. Lane. The triple threat performer, who has worked with such divas as Jasmine Guy, Lynn Whitfield and D. Woods, is gearing up to launch his newest work “When The Beat Drops” TONIGHT at 8 p.m. EST on YouTube.
“When The Beat Drops” is a film project that Lane conceived, directed and choreographed with students from his alma mater—The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The piece explores the relationship between the physical, material world and the sonic world and it features the work of film students Chris Matthews and Ryan Civale. Lane also received assistance from film faculty member and renowned cinematographer John LeBlanc and composer Reggie Croslan.
“I had this idea about a joint project where I could fuse the students from the school of dance with students from the school of film. So I choreographed a piece in the fall of last year and my plan was to put that same idea on film. It sort of reminds you of how you are when you listen to your favorite song and the feeling you get when that beat drops,” said Lane.
He also stated that the film pays homage to Yeek, a form of high energy dance moves that originated in his native Atlanta, GA. “I really wanted to keep it as authentic to the Yeek style of dance as possible. It means a lot to me and it’s the style of dance I learned growing up in Atlanta. It was the first dance style that was really relevant in my community and it just stuck with me. I promised myself if I ever got an opportunity, I would just shed some light on it and it’s history.”
In addition to “When The Beat Drops,” Lane is also working on another new work as part of Alvin Ailey’s New Direction Choreographic Lab Fellowship. It’s an opportunity for him to create the blueprint for a new piece that he can premiere at some point in the future.
“It’s an opportunity to work on your process. They’re not as concerned with you having a finished product as much as they are about you embellishing on your ideas and what you want to do. Because there are no timelines, I am able to play with different styles and techniques of choreography,” said Lane.
Check out a snippet of “When The Beat Drops” below and catch the premiere tonight at 8 p.m. on YouTube!
Photo Credit: Facebook/Juel D. Lane