Grant Will Bring Dance Artist to Jazz Festival to Teach Dance Workshops

Wednesday, September 30 2009

Written by Cheryl Dudley

MOSCOW, Idaho – Jazz dance artist Sherry Zunker will join the 2010 Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, held Feb. 24-27, at the University of Idaho to teach advanced jazz technique, jazz festival movement clinics, a jazz dance teacher’s workshop and more.

Zunker's participation is funded by a $5,000 grant from The Inland Northwest Community Foundation’s Florence Wasmer Fund for Arts and Culture, which was awarded to Greg Halloran, associate professor of dance in the College of Education.

"The education provided to festival participants increases dance appreciation and instruction quality throughout the region," said Halloran. "Sherry Zunker will be the most significant jazz dance artist we’ve had at the University of Idaho since Frankie Manning. Music and dance have worked hand and hand since the beginning of humanity, so it makes sense to include dance in our festival. Our goal is to continue to offer the Northwest community top-notch guest artists each year."

Zunker also will teach a musician cruise line employment workshop. Her workshops will be open to all Northwest dancers at no cost.

Zunker is director of Aylet Creative, a professional entertainment network based in Chicago, and is perhaps best known as co-artistic director emerita of River North Chicago Dance Company. She continues her work with the company through teaching and choreographing.

In 2000, she received a Ruth Page Dance Achievement Award for "Mission," co-created with Frank Chaves in honor of River North Chicago’s 10th anniversary. She has served on the faculty of Giordano Dance Center, Lou Conte Dance Studio, River North Dance Studio, the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance, and currently teaches master classes throughout the U.S.

Zunker has set her works on The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, and Aspen Ballet and has staged numbers for musical productions, commercials, music videos, live industrial shows, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line productions. She recently founded The Mature Dancer’s Project, a community driven arts organization rooted in dance.

The University of Idaho dance program strives to enrich the Inland Northwest with world-class, multicultural dance performance, preserve historically and culturally significant dance works, and provide the highest quality dance instruction for dance educators and students. The Center for Dance is committed to engaging individuals of all ages in dance as an art form and enjoyable social and physical activity.

Since 2001, the Center for Dance has offered dance clinics during the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival. Attendance in the clinics has increased by 475 percent since they first began, with more than 1,900 participants in 2009.

The University of Idaho offers the only dance major in the Inland Northwest. The program emphasizes dance performance, choreography, dance educator instruction and dance preservation.

For 43 years at the University of Idaho, the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival has brought jazz masters together with elementary, junior high, high school and college students to share and celebrate a truly American art form of music. It has featured hundreds of musicians from around the world, including China, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Peru, as well as students from Canada, Japan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan. For more information about the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, visit, e-mail or call (208) 885-6765.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit  

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit