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By Dance Magazine
Frank Hatchett in 2013.
Photo by Matthew Murphy for Dance Teacher.
Jazz pioneer Frank Hatchett died on December 23, 2013. He was 78. Hatchett began his career as a teacher/choreographer in the 1980s, a time of major transition in jazz dance, when theatrical choreographers like Jack Cole, Michael Bennett and Bob Fosse's careers had ended and hip hop was becoming popular.
Through his diverse training, Hatchett created his own energetic jazz style, VOP jazz, that blended traditional jazz, hip hop, modern and African dance into a hard-hitting commercial style. His class had such a devoted following that in 1982, he established Hines and Hatchett dance studio with Maurice Hines in New York City—known today as Broadway Dance Center. Since those early days, Hatchett remained true to his foundational style and went on to teach at the Jazz Dance World Congress, Dance Masters of America and Dance Educators of America, among others. —Kristin Schwab