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Jazz Exploration 2018

25. – 27. 5. 2018     #TapAndSwingThatsTheThing


Welcome to our new festival based around swing and tap – Jazz Exploration Weekend! Waiting for you are:

  • solo swing lessons with Maja Hellsten or
  • tap lessons with Josh Hilberman, Kurt Albert, and Klaus Bleis
  • parties with live music at Autoklub ČR
  • tasters
  • talks


Maja Hellsten (Sweden)
Maja has been working with dance in many forms – teaching, performing, producing and choreographing – for many years. It is no secret that she feels the most comfortable when being on stage. She gets her inspiration from the big dancing stars of the golden era such as Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire and The Nicholas Brothers, just to name a few. And like her idols she often incorporates singing, dancing as well as acting in her performances.

Maja has a professional dancer’s degree from the Stockholm Ballet Academy and has been working with modern dancing for several years. However, it is the freedom, creativity and playfulness of Swing dancing and jazz music that brings her the most joy and shines through in her teaching.


Josh Hilberman (USA/Belgium)
Groomed by tap and vaudeville stars of the 1930’s, tap dance artist Joshua Hilberman has shared the stage with Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, Brenda Bufalino, and most every tap dancer of note.

His deep understanding of tap dance in performance combined with a healthy sense of humor make him a fun, patient, enlightening instructor.


Tap & Tray (Kurt Albert & Klaus Bleis, Germany)
Working together for over 30 years, Kurt and Klaus have made TAP & TRAY one of the most successful European tap acts of all time. Their training includes an apprenticeship with showbiz legend Carnell Lyons as well as intensive study with Motown legend Cholly Atkins, tap greats such as Charles “Honi” Coles and James “Buster” Brown, and tap guru Brenda Bufalino.

Since 1991 they have been collaborating with their friend, dancer Josh Hilberman. Together they produced the annual cult classic, “The World Championships of Paddle and Roll”, a parody of dance competitions, and are working in the act “Tap, Tray, and the Fool” with performances throughout the USA and Europe.


Dudes of Ellington (Saturday night)

Jiří Polydor Sextet (Friday night)

Marek Rejhon Swing Quintet & Petra Ernyei (Sunday night)


Solo Swing – intermediate-intermediate/advanced
You have probably done 2-4 years of regular lindy hop classes and feel like it’s time to move on more with your solo dancing. From your classes you should already have a vocabulary of solo steps, such as Fall of the Logs, Suzy Qs, Rocks, Shim Sham, the Shim Sham Break, etc., their variations and combinations. If you have already done some of the more complex routines, such as the Tranky Doo, this is the right level for you.

Tap – intermediate
You should have at least 1 year of experience with tap dancing and should know some basic steps and variations such as rolls, paddles, shuffles, and flaps and how to put them in combinations. Maybe you already have an experience with a simple routine, such as the Shim Sham.

Tap – intermediate/advanced
Besides above mentioned, you should feel pretty comfortable with simple steps, jump steps, and more complex combinations. You pick up things fairly easily, both fast and slow tempos are your friends, so are rhythmical and musical changes. You should’ve done approximately 3-5 years of tap dancing.


Years ago we started with tap workshops based around International Tap Dance Day (May 25) and continued for the next 20 years. From this year on we would like to work on reconnection of tap and swing, two dances that have shared their roots, evolution and (un)fortunate history. What a coincidence that May 26 was later on declared as World Lindy Hop Day. Keep on reading if you want to find out more about why those two days.


For many the name Bill “Bojangles” Robinson will sound familiar – he was one of afro-american tap dancers and movie star and through his personality and fame was able to fight against judgment and break racial stereotypes in show business, such as the “blackface”. May 25 is Bojangles’ birthday.


Swing dancers will know foremost Frankie Manning, dancer know from 30s and 40s and from 80s until his death in 2009. Through his dance life he was the main dancer of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, during the revival of swing dancing from 80s he was the most visible and most influential figure. Again, May 26 is his birthday.


All parties will happen at Autoklub ČR, Opletalova 29, and single entries will be available at doors.

Friday (19:30-1:30) – 300,- / 15€
Jiří Polydor Sextet, history talk

Saturday (19:30-2:30) – 400,- / 20€
Dudes of Ellington, swing and tap taster, tap show

Sunday (19:30-1:30) – 300,- / 15€
Marek Rejhon Swing Quintet & Petra Ernyeiová, cane tricks taster


6 x 60 minute classes

Preliminary schedule – is subject of change!






Parties – Autoklub ČR, Opletalova 29
Swing lessons – Autoklub ČR
Tap lessons – Centrum tance, Václavské nám. 36


Early bird (payments by 16.4.) Regular (payments after 17.4.)
(lessons + parties)
130 € 140 €
(parties only)
40 € 40 €



15 EUR 20 EUR 15 EUR


Deposit payment for full pass registrations – 50 €.
Rest of the payment is due upon check-in.


Cancelation fee by 16.4. – 20 € (party pass) / 50 € (full pass)
Cancelation fee from 17.4. – 100%


Video from previous years to be found here.