Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tap in the city: ATDF's "Rhythm in Motion" takes wing

American Tap Dance Foundation presented
Rhythm in Motion at ATDF's Tap City festival.
(photo: Amanda Gentile)

This year's Rhythm in Motion--part of the well-loved TAP CITY, the summer festival of all things tap--might be artistic director Tony Waag's best show ever. No trace of bloat, fluff or cornball, just expert, all-in, radiant power tap for nearly two hours. This is tap right on time and into the future. And diverse aesthetic styles with something for everyone--from lovers of Brazilian samba to Fats Waller to Steve Reich--and millions (they wish) served. Really, if you came away not finding something to cheer hard about here, I'm worried about you.

I regret that this show--presented at Symphony Space, long-time partner with Waag's American Tap Dance Foundation--ran only one night. People, can we do something about this sort of thing? The show I saw last night felt downright historic. Certainly, there were standout and breakout dance artists on the bill, and a viewer might even start contemplating...hmmm, yeah....some award nominations. Just sayin'. But, seriously, Bessies committee, start taking a wide-angled look at some of what's happening in tap these days.

I loved so much, but I will long remember the matchless, grounded, joyous confidence of Brinae Ali's Ndizzy Spellz; the always-surprising Caleb Teicher falling off his high heels then proceeding to kill it with yet one more unexpected strategy around tap and space and theatricality; and the all-women Full Circle Hardrocks's sharp cheerleader moves for Rokafella's The Drums Say Africa; and Lisa La Touche's Tap Phonics trio in the propulsive, offbeat Fragile. These artists do more than make tap "relevant" today; they offer no excuse to ignore tap.

Also serving some awesome tap on this program:Chloe Arnold and Robin Passmore, Christina Carminucci, Michelle Dorrance (with collaborating choreographer/improvisers Hannah Heiler, Melinda Sullivan and Josette Wiggan), Felipe Galganni, Charles Renato, Tami Sakurai, Delores Sanchez, Leo Sandoval, Samara Seligsohn and Nicholas Van Young.

Rhythm in Motion is closed, but there's one more event (Friday, July 13) you can enjoy before the season finishes up:
"TAP IT OUT" -- a free, public outdoor tap dance event at 1pm, 1:30pm, and 2pm at Father Duffy Square/Times Square (Broadway, West 46th Street to West 47th Street, 7th Avenue, Manhattan). Adult and pre-professional students create a chorus of hundreds of tapping feet. The contemporary percussion and movement "soundscape" promotes tap dance as pure music, while consciously deconstructing the basic elements that propel tap forward.
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