Matt Mattox

(16 August 1921 – 18 February 2013)

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Matt Mattox was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and became a protégé of the legendary jazz dance pioneer Jack Cole, with whom he worked on Broadway in Magdalena: a Musical Adventure (1948). His other Broadway credits include creating the role of the Jester in the original production of Once Upon a Mattress (1959), and Harry Beaton in the 1957 revival of Brigadoon. Mattox also performed concert engagements with his own dance company. His brief career as a Broadway choreographer included Jennie and Say, Darling.
Mattox used his background in ballet technique to create his own technique for jazz dance. His jazz class was assembled in the progression of a ballet class, and he called his exercises “the barre”. Mattox also has specifically designed the exercises to relate to the combinations given at the end of his class. The positions, shapes, and qualities developed during the barre are visible within his own detailed and polished style.
xOne of the world’s most influential teachers of jazz dance—or, as he called it, “freestyle dancing” Mattox lived and worked in Perpignan, France. He formed a concert jazz dance company JazzArt in 1975 in England and eventually brought it to France where students from around the world flocked to study with him over the years.