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Raised at AFD, instilled with love of theater, and making art forever…

Jeff Kazin was raised in the heart of AFD. He shares some memories and thoughts about love of theater, dance, performing.

Below is a glimpse of the production of “Nut/Cracked” currently at the ICA in Boston.

My first production with AFD was “Gold In the Hills” (circa 1973).  I spent untold hours at 22 Academy Street—both on and back stage—until 1982, when I departed for Connecticut College. From ‘73-’82 I was raised at AFD.  I had parents and siblings galore, and friendships were forged that I still hold most dear to this day. AFD trained me—literally—to be a lover of theater, all that it entails, and what was (and wasn’t) done, respected, and admired in that most hallowed of churches.

I have never left the theater.  As a theater major in college, I attended the National Theater Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center and began working professionally before graduation from Conn. I moved to New York City in 1987 where I have lived ever since with my partner of 31 years. In 1990, after many, many many failed attempts to be cast in a Broadway show, I went to see a dance concert with work by choreographer and friend David Parker. Thus began my career as a professional dancer, ending my Broadway auditioning career.

Since then I have been a founding dancer, general manager and now director of the company that David and I formed, The Bang Group. I’ve created original roles for the company, taught and coached repertory, assisted in the creations of commissioned work for renowned companies, colleges and universities. I’ve no intention of stopping any of it.  TBG has been produced throughout the US and Europe as we continue to explore the boundaries of dance, humor, rhythm, and the destruction of dance dogma. The company’s work is accessible, intelligent, wry, anarchic.

One of the company’s most notorious, illustrious and beloved works, “Nut/Cracked” (celebrating its 13th season, an unheard of accomplishment for a modern dance piece) was presented at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston this past December. This neo-vaudeville, “masterful mash-up of nostalgia, artistry and fun” (The Huffington Post) will feature, along with 13 dancers from NYC, Boston luminaries Peter DiMuro and Lorraine Chapman.

Today, AFD stands as one of the cornerstones of the formulation of my values, the foundation of my career, and my genuine love of the theater.

Thanks to Dot Santos for this piece.

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