Not all dance floors are created equal. You’ve got your casual dance floors—the type where anything goes. There are the slightly dangerous dance floors where drinks are spilled and rhythm is a matter of personal interpretation. And then you have the dance floors that are sacred spaces; The type where it’s impossible to look away. The kind where imaginations fly as freely as the syncopated limbs attached to them. Here, explosive expressions of passion, intellect, and poetry take on the shape of movable sculptures. Illusions play with shape and form. This is a dance floor with dance artists whose visual language uses rhythmic motion to create magic.
Nestled in the Mecca of diversity and acceptance is a national treasure called Los Angeles based club, Club Jeté. It’s monthly residency at a venue known simply as ‘Heart WeHo’ brings to stage the work of 150 dancers. These dancers present 15-20 pieces of choreographed work and share their creative genius with an audience of peers, artists and whoever else is lucky enough to visit. New work spills out into the community in the center of bright lights and crisp sounds. On this small stage, the setting is intimate, and the mood is electric. The energized audience is supportive.
Choreographers and dancers casually fall into their flow and before you know it, you have seen something marvelously delicious. There aren’t many seats, but you won’t want to be seated anyway and every view is supreme.
The intimate setting of Club Jeté is in direct contrast with its global reputation. Dancers from Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan regularly bless the stage. This global phenomenon has lasted over 10-years and is the brainchild of producer Tiffany Billings. Billings started Club Jeté in the dance community of North Hollywood and, what first began as a place for performance art, bloomed organically into an unstoppable force.
Billings brings her background in ballet, dance and choreography to the stage as she produces the event from top to bottom. It is through her meticulous attention to detail that this experience in dance explodes with a feeling of freedom while remaining grounded in principle. Club Jeté remains intimate and accessible to the creative community and the general population. For instance, Billings keeps tickets under $20. She recognizes that accessibility is everything. She doesn’t have a formal guest list, and everyone is welcome. You won’t find a doorman guarding the entrance like a hawk. She refuses to have any competitive format involved in the event. The results of which create a true vibe where everyone is pushing their limits together. No status or prize. Just the process. The real work.
Billings effortlessly hosts each night with elegance and grace that keeps Club Jeté buzzing with mystique. She also pulls this off without any outside sponsors. Clube Jeté just celebrated its 111th performance on Oct. 20.
On any given month there will be electricity running through the veins of Heart WeHo as Club Jeté’s production comes to the stage.
With the help of MC Darin Sanone and Assistant Director Aubrienne O’Meara, together these renegades triple-handedly breathe life into the creative community of Los Angeles. The bonds that dancers share run deep. In an art form that takes a toll on the whole body–a dancer’s career on stage may tend to have a short life span. It is no wonder the community that makes up this medium is steeped in mentorship and pays homage to its roots. Billings has taught for 14-years as a college professor, devoting that time in passing along the hours of training she underwent in the studio to a younger generation. She understands the importance of exposure and the freedom to practice art without boundaries.
Club Jeté has elevated the lives and careers of some incredibly influential choreographers. Robert Green was first spotted on this stage before being catapulted onto Taylor Swift’s record-breaking 1989 world tour. Green has gone on to dance for the music industry’s top artists including Sam Smith and The Weekend, as well as choreograph work for Tove Lo and Charli XCX.
Another notable Club Jeté standout is Amari Marshall. Amari is a dancer, choreographer and creative director. Recognized as the first female hip-hop choreographer, she has gone on to work with Janet Jackson, Rihanna and Beyonce.
The seductive draw of Club Jeté has brought in notable celebrities in recent months. The likes of Ariana Grande, Zendaya, and Jaime King have all been in the audience.
When I asked Billings what her favorite part of the event was she took a beat, looked down onto the dance floor and found her answer. Each night at the end of the show the chairs are moved out along with the stage and the dance floor opens up. “Lines are blurred and everyone comes together to find this joy in doing exactly what I love. Dancers are just trying to feel.” Said Billings. Maybe we all are. The next Club Jeté showcase is on November 17, 2022.