My time and experience with Bharat ended in 1976, and after travelling through Europe for ten weeks, I found myself home in Norristown PA looking to resume my yoga training. I came across a small ad in Philadelphia magazine for a yoga class in the city at the Joan Kerr Dance studio. Upon calling the studio, I learned that the yoga class was canceled, but that I should consider taking their evening class in “Jazz Dance”. The young lady on the phone was very engaging, so I decided to go ahead and make the drive into Philly that night.
I cruised into the city to her 3rd floor leased studio space at the corner of 13th and Race and entered this new world of dance, more specifically Jazz Dance. Unlike yoga, there was no standing in one spot (at least not for long); there was rhythm, there was movement, there were beautiful women ( well OK, like yoga in that regard also), there was hand drumming and Stevie Wonder songs, there was fun.
Photo: Michael Bixler, (1)
I then entered the world of dance, albeit for a brief time as it turned out, but still I had a taste. Once again, I was ignorant of the background of Joan Kerr, and her artistic and socially conscious contributions to the city and the arts, primarily dance.
Daniel Webster of the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1970 described the company as “a dance troupe of forthright eloquence… illustrating depth in contemporary dance expression.” (2)
There was also that brief moment in time to meet and learn from wonderful teachers like Denise Vale, who would go on to be a featured dancer and teacher with the Martha Graham Company based in NYC. I pursued dance as an activity through the late 70’s, even throwing in a ballet class at a more local studio in Ambler, until I was sidelined with a serious knee injury due to a fall at work while working during the winter snows. Dance career over, rehab beginning.