Story and photo by Jaideen Cobb
Jenzi Russell has a following. The dance teacher and choreographer has more than 54,000 followers on Instagram, and that number keeps growing. Jenzi, who goes by his first name professionally, teaches weekly classes valley-wide in various studios including Studio 21 and the Z Room. His electric personality and unique dance moves that have built him a following among dancers and non-dancers alike. He says he wants to build confidence and sexiness with every eight count.
From a young age, Jenzi used dance as a way to keep himself occupied in doing something positive and out of trouble. This South Mountain High School graduate is a former member of a local dance group called Ghetto Government, doing talent shows and performances throughout the Valley. Now Jenzi has found an identity as a choreographer, movement coach and instructor, teaching multiple dance classes weekly that are scattered throughout Tempe, Avondale and Phoenix.
Jenzi is bringing a street vibe dance style to the Valley that he calls “Tour-Hiphop” or “Tourography” which he describes as a mix of electric dance moves and sassy personality.
He gets his dance inspirations from today’s top entertainers: Beyoncé and renowned choreographer Laurieann Gibson.
He believes he is giving his students a sense of hope, confidence and something to believe in. Jenzi shared a touching story of a woman who’s husband divorced her, but she continued to come to class despite her sad circumstances. Jenzi shares, “That night of her divorce she came to class and danced her heart out, and that meant a lot to me.”
Jenzi’s dance students are multicultural, varying in many age groups and levels of dance experience. Some of Jenzi’s students just want a fun work out, while others live for the art of dance. The environment is a direct reflection of Jenzi himself. “There is no way you can get around me and not feel my energy,” he says. The classes convey just that, high energy and smiling faces.
Jenzi’s dance classes are open to the public and he encourages anyone with any type of dance background or dance experience level to attend. His choreography is more than a rhythmic line dance. It reflects the feeling that one may get when dancing to some of the greatest hits of our time, while being encouraged to challenge themselves to keep up with every eight count.
More about Jenzi and a schedule of his classes is online at jenzirussell.com