Jazz Power Youth

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Youth training in singing, dance and theatre in diverse and culturally aware environments, to cultivate courage, curiosity, and compassion.

Jazz Power Youth Workshop, a 12-week spring intensive training led by Eli Yamin (music) and Mickey Davidson (dance/theatre) held at United Palace in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Students ages 11-17 make friends with jazz and each other while receiving cultural immersion in the jazz arts and professional instruction in singing, dance and theatre. Classic jazz pieces are learned and scenes from JPI musicals are staged for a culminating performance at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem and the United Palace.

“The best part about being with Jazz Power is having teamwork and friends helping you when you’re feeling down.”– George, 14

Scholarships are available for 2020 Workshop which meets Thursdays in April/May/June. To apply for a scholarship, you must successfully complete at least one Jazz Power Youth Master Class.

Jazz Power Youth Workshop covers the following:

Voice for healthy, soulful and creative singing.
Dance for strength, flexibility and expression in the groove.
Theatre for imagination and confidence.
Piano for musicianship.

Zah! Jazz Power Youth, is a dynamic group of young performers that have completed at least one year of training with JPI preparing them to give performances at New York Metropolitan Area venues such as National Jazz Museum in Harlem, United Palace of Cultural Arts, WBGO Kids Jazz Series, Jazz at Lincoln Center and New York City Parks.

Jazz Arts Open Master Classes, held January through March each year, give a wide community of young people a taste of JPI in action. Master classes are led by Artistic Director Eli Yamin and guest master artists such as Catherine Russell, Mickey Davidson, Shireen Dickson, Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, Antoinette Montague, Marion Cowings and Jeanie Lovetri.


Eli playingArtistic Director Eli Yamin is a pianist, composer, singer, and educator who has been spreading the joy of jazz through his work for 30 years including 10 years as founding director of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy. Eli tours with his blues band and jazz quartet, has released several CD’s and has performed at The White House, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and over 20 countries as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State. Eli sincerely believes learning about jazz should feel as creative as playing jazz and consistently shares this experience with students of all ages.


Dancer/Choreographer Mickey Davidson won an Audelco award for choreography of “For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” directed by Ntozake Shange. She joined Dianne McIntyre’s ground breaking “Sounds In Motion” in 1975 and danced with the company for eight years. She has worked closely with jazz artists Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, the World Saxophone Quartet and was mentored by original Savoy Ballroom dancers Frankie Manning and Norma Miller. A beloved New York veteran of arts education, Ms. Davidson has an extensive background in African American dance styles and led the African American Dance program at Wesleyan University for 17 years. In addition to teaching with Jazz Power Initiative, she teaches at the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp in New Orleans and is a passionate advocate for making the authentic jazz dance traditions available to the next generation. 


Jazz Power Youth offers as created a dynamic, groundbreaking learning platform that reveals the importance of jazz in American life on a whole new level. Though telling the stories of the great jazz musicians is important, JPI has learned that there is a more powerful way to engage young people with the world of jazz. The social relevance of the musical story being told ignites intrinsic passion in our students and facilitates an accelerated and exciting learning environment. The JPI experiential method enables students to own the essential ingredients of jazz in the context of the stories they are telling.

Teaching Artists guide students in making the swing and shuffle beats their own in a spirit of fun and collaboration. The notion of improvisation becomes an unstoppable learning tool, which can be used in music, theatre and everyday life. Historical dances such as swing and the cakewalk, become visceral learning experiences with clear connections to American History. Practicing diction in the context of singing a bebop line with many syllables and a driving rhythmic framework, challenges students both physically and mentally, expanding their view of their own abilities cognitively, creatively and in terms of self-confidence.

  • Youth Workshop Showcase at United Palace - photo by Kerry Kehoe