Contrary to what has been reported on other sites, Jim was and is the sole choreographer of the famous Tush Push with no assistance from Mr. Kenneth Engel (AKA: Kentucky Ken) or Melanie Greenwood.
Webmaster's Note: Since creating this site, I have been contacted by several well known dancers and choreographers who have expressed an opinion concerning "Kentucky" Ken Engel, the most prevalent being that Mr. Engel appears to be claiming co-choreographer credits for dances whose choreographer appears to have passed away.
Another choreographer who's work appears to have been co-opted is Donna Aiken, best known for her dance "Alley Cat".
Having only been personally involved in Country Line Dancing since the early 1980's, I cannot prove or disprove these claims, but Jim Ferrazzano says, unequivocally, that he never met or heard of Mr. Engel, in spite of the fact that he was teaching Line Dancing at "Gilley's" nightclub at the time the movie "Urban Cowboy" was filming there, and was active in the movie's production. This was the same time frame when Mr. Engel supposedly taught at Gilley's
The fact that Jim Ferrazzano disappeared from the public eye from 1996 until 2010, due to health reasons, adds credence to this claim. Many, myself included, thought Jim had indeed passed away.
Fact or Fiction? Only Jim Ferrazzano and "Kentucky" Ken Engel can truly say.
Jim has been dancing since the mid 1970's and has a very impressive list of accomplishments to his credit.
In addition to his work on the movie, "Urban Cowboy", he is an accomplished Western Dance competitor, DJ, and choreographer whose credits include the popular Kaw-liga, Tush-Push, Rebel Soldier, and Texas Waltz (AKA: Waltz Across Texas). His popular "Flying-8" has also been modified, over the years and is danced under the name "Traveling 4-Corners".
Among his other achievements, he has a degree in dance, including training at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music (under the name James Ferro) earning his Doctorate from CMSU in Warrensburg, Mo.
|(left) "Hillbilly" Rick Meyer IL.||(center) Bud Cranford (GA)
|(right) Jim Ferrazzano (aka: Jim Ferro)|
|Taken at the CWLDA International Grand Championships, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, January 1995
Photo by Danny Galpin
As so often happens, I either missed his name or didn't relate Ferrazzano to the Jim Ferro I had heard of. At any rate I didn't realize who he was, but he was praising my dance "Confederate Hustle". Trying to remain humble in spite of such lavish praise, I commented that I was not trying to write the best line dance in the world. I'd settle for writing something that became as popular as the "Tush-Push".
Though I had made that remark to inject some humor into the conversation, I didn't understand Jim's laughter until later in the evening when I discovered Jim Ferrazzano was also James Ferro, the choreographer of "Tush-Push".
In spite of this, Jim and I became fast friends (probably due to similar personalities) and I am very pleased that he trusts me enough to create his Official site.
I later learned this was not the first time I had met Jim. About a year prior to this, I had taught at a workshop for JG2, in Virginia. After teaching "Confederate Hustle", a rather scruffy looking man came up to me with a copy of the step sheet and asked if I had really wrote this dance. I replied that it was choreographed by my wife and myself. Assured that it was my creation, he asked me to autograph the step sheet. I was flattered that someone liked my dance enough that he wanted an autographed copy of the step sheet.
I did not know this person's identity until years later, when Jim told me he was flying back to Boston, from Oklahoma when he learned this dance was being taught by the choreographer at the JG2 workshop. He changed his flight plan, diverting to Virginia long enough to take this class, before continuing on to Boston. The scruffy appearance was from just completing a Competition in Oklahoma, then boarding the flight to Boston and several hours of flight time. He came straight from the airport, took my class, then returned to the airport to continue his flight.
What a complement! The "Tush Push" choreographer enjoyed my dance so much he modified his travel plans to attend my workshop. Had I known this, at the time, my head would have swelled so much, I would probably have split the seams on my hat.
Y'all come back soon, y'hear?
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