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Jeffrey Page

February 14, 2012

“I am captivated by the groove of a simple handclap or foot-stomp in a schoolyard. We are
all drawn to beauty and revere the magnificent textures that it fosters. This supreme beauty
transcends time, space, cultures, and class; it forces us to pause and evolve into something better.
Through the manifestation of dance, I feel like I can change the world.”

– Jeffrey Page

You may have seen him featured in season 5 of “So You Think You Can Dance” for
choreographing the show’s first West African piece. If you saw the Tony award-winning
Broadway hit Fela, you certainly witnessed his breath-taking movement on the stage. You have
most likely seen his choreography, since he recently won (alongside Frank Gatson and Luam
Keflezgy) a VMA for choreographing Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” video. However, you
probably did not know that this legend once choreographed for African Rhythms, the University
of Pennsylvania’s premiere African drum and dance troupe.

Influenced by the likes of Michael Jackson and James Brown, Jeffrey Page, an
Indianapolis native, began dancing at an early age, studying everything from ballet, to modern,
jazz, and African dance. According to Page, “Whether I was showing off for my Aunt Pat
or out-dancing every kid who challenged me at my next-door neighbor’s house, there was
a constant beat in my head. It was then, in 1983, that I realized that each moment has a
soundtrack.” In 1998, he attended Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, where he majored in
dance and graduated with honors, performed professionally in New York and Washington,
DC, and choreographed with African Rhythms. Page helped choreograph AR’s spring ’00
production, “Didė, Omo, Didė, Rise Child, Rise, its ”spring ’01 production “Obasi, Rhythm
Eternal,” and its spring ’02 production “Oshun Kile Kile, The Spirit of Seduction,” three of AR’s
most successful showcases. Besides his involvement in these two productions, Page served as an
instrumental figure in AR in the late 90’s shortly after the group’s inception in 1993.

Besides Beyonce’s “Run The World (Girls)” video and the West African piece from
season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance, Page has choreographed for the Billboard, BET,
VMA, and World Music awards, just to name a few. He has choreographed tours such as
The Beyonce Experience, 2007 World Tour, the Artist Showcase for 311 Music Group Nikki
Jane, and the Jazmine Sullivan tour. He has even served as an instructor and consultant for
companies such as Cirque du Soleil and Alvin Ailey. This Emmy-nominated choreographer
has been recognized by the root as one of the top 100 Emerging African-American Leaders
and has received awards such as Philadelphia’s CEC New Edged Choreographer’s Awards and
Los Angeles’s Arts Leadership Award. While Page should be recognized for these accolades,
it is important to understand his role in transforming African dance and introducing this art to
mainstream audiences. Most importantly, he has shown the world that movement has the power
to transcend all barriers, including race, class, and gender.

Mimi Owusu CAS’12

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