Artistic Director / Choreographer / Principal Dancer
Dancing since 1974, Chester Whitmore originally studied to be a cinematographer. An encounter with famed tap dancer Fayard Nicholas changed his life. Eventually, Mr. Nicholas became his teacher and mentor.
Mr. Whitmore has been jumping ever since. Lately, he has been traveling around the world on tour as dancer, teacher, choreographer, director and entertainer. He and his dance company, Black Ballet Jazz, have performed with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington, the Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Frank Foster, Joe Williams and the great Miles Davis.
The summer of 1999 sent him touring through Canada and Europe with the Smithsonian Masterworks Jazz Orchestra in a tribute to Duke Ellington.
Chester Whitmore's choreography can be seen in music videos by Weird Al Yankovic, Tina Marie, Boys 2 Men, Sugar Ray, and most recently in the hit movie musical "La La Land".
The NAACP Image Awards (1989-1994), Soul of American Music, and Stellar Awards (Gospel Music Awards) show Mr. Whitmore’s versatility in choreographing for diverse groups, such as the Nicholas Brothers with Savion Glover, M.C. Hammer, Lavert, Bebe and Cece Winans, Vickie Winans and dance tributes to Dick Clark and The Artist (formerly known as Prince).
Mr. Whitmore is actively involved in projects teaching young people on the history of Vernacular Jazz Dance and Central Avenue through Los Angeles Cultural Affairs events as performer or as teacher for the Parks and Recreation Division, African Marketplace, and in schools and universities throughout the U.S.
Teaching/lecture assignments include Herrang Dance Camp(Sweden), Los Angeles City College, UCLA (Ballroom Dance Club), The California African-American Museum, and dance performances, Salzburg (Austria), the San Francisco Jazz Festival (1997), the Monterey Jazz Festival (1996), The Henry Ford Theater ("Lord of the Swing") and Los Angeles Union Station.
Chester Whitmore has taught almost everyone who has made a name in the swing scene.