Friday, July 12, 2013

Celebrating a world of tap in New York

The world is a stage. 
The stage is a world of entertainment.

Arthur Schwartz/Howard Dietz, "That's Entertainment"
Tony Waag, mayor of Tap City
at last year's Tap It Out event at Battery Park City
(photo by Eva Yaa Asantewaa)
Thanks to Tony Waag's week-long Tap City summer fest, New Yorkers get to see and hear what a world of artists has made of the great American art of tap dance. The festival's "Tap Internationals" performance program--showcasing performers from the four winds and local talent working out to global rhythms--has long been my favorite Tap City feature. I only regret that we get but one chance per year to see it.

Last evening's show at Symphony Space has come and gone, taking with it these most engaging experiences:

Tembang Alit: a gem of a solo for Claudia Rahardjanoto (Chinese-Indonesian native of Germany), who played clear, discrete steps like tinkling bells against Cicilia Yudha's equally spare and delicate piano work

Kazu Kumagai
(photo by Leslie Kee)
Journey to the Soundscape: a solo for Japan's arresting Kazu Kumagai, an all-time favorite of mine, who channels dissonance and passion, taking tap to a stormy place beyond the familiar sunshine

Confirmation: another solo, this time splashed across space by Corey Hutchins (from Connecticut), a bold, original stylist with variegated musicality

Tap en Clave: crackling rumba riding atop taps by wiry live-wire Jaime Moran of Cuba

Not to forget El Guararey de Pastora, a handsome arrangement of song, body percussion and tap created by Max Pollak for his Rumba Tap ensemble, looking and sounding better than ever

And more:

Carson Murphy aglow, a model of confident ease and flow in the cast of Nicholas Young's Environments

Brenda Bufalino
(photo by Lois Greenfield)

Brenda Bufalino, master performer/educator at her best here, laying out fluttery, skimming tuneful steps and showing the kids how it's done

Speaking of kids, Susan Hebach and Tamii Sakurai have done a magnificent job of staging Molutsi Mogami's Izzici (Stomping Feet) for seventeen teen dancers from Tap City Youth Ensemble. The youngsters demonstrated high discipline and coordination--as individuals and as a group--in this demanding South African boot dance.

Which brings me to Tap Future. There is one. Watch American Tap Dance Foundation's students do their thing tonight at 8pm. Check in here, and hurry! Tickets go quickly.

But if you don't make it tonight, you don't even need tickets for tomorrow afternoon's Tap It Out extravaganza. Just head to Father Duffy Square in Times Square (map/directions) tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon to see a huge ensemble--160 dancers in all, at last count--performing 20-minute shows at noon, 1pm and 2pm.

For more about the American Tap Dance Foundation, click here.

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