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Jazz, Funk, Broadway—and ‘Leg’Acy of the Chorus Line…Tap Dance Variety and Virtuosity star in ‘All That Tap’

The rhythms spill out of their metal-studded shoes in styles from jazz to funk to Broadway—and “all that” in between—when world-class tap dancers perform at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in ALL THAT TAP XVI on Saturday, July 28 at 7 p.m. ALL THAT TAP XVI also features St. Louis’ own award-winning Carolbeth True Trio providing live jazz music for this concert that culminates the 16th annual St. Louis Tap Festival.

Tickets for All That Tap XVI are $15, $20 and $25. They are available by phone via the Touhill Center at 516- 4949 (toll free, 866-516-4949) or online at www.touhill.org. 

All That Tap showcases tap’s phenomenal variety, from the furious funk of hip-hop artists Darryl “Dee Mac” Sandoz and Rashad “Wizdom” Rounds, to the wild elegance of Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, who has not only frequently partnered Savion Glover but been hailed as his equal.  As New York’s Village Voice reported, “When Glover traded phrases with her, you could see he'd met his match and was grateful for the challenge.”      

The dancers of All That Tap hail from around North America. Several have never appeared in St. Louis before, such as Canadian-born jazz artist Shelley Oliver, and New Yorker “new vaudevillian” Rod Ferrone, who has given master classes in the art of hat tricks as well as tap.

Tap is unique in the world of dance because its physical demands do not eliminate older performers—in fact, some of the greatest tap dancers are in their 70s, 80s and even 90s. Such tap masters performing in All That Tap include Dr. Jimmy Slyde, Harold Cromer, and featured honoree Dr. Marion Coles, still dancing with gusto after seven decades as a professional hoofer. With Coles, a veteran of Harlem’s Apollo Theater, All That Tap puts a spotlight on “LEGacy of the Chorus Line.”

All That Tap crowns the six-day St. Louis Tap Festival that includes master classes, a tap jam improvisation, and a participants’ showcase, taking place July 23-28 at the Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel, 7730 Bonhomme. For more information, check tapheritage.org or call the St. Louis Tap Festival hotline at 314-531-8277.          

Founded in 1992 by tap master Robert L. Reed, the St. Louis Tap Festival is the only regional event that preserves the great legacy of tap dance by bringing veteran masters of tap to St. Louis while showcasing the best of today’s talent. The event is produced by the Robert L. Reed Tap Heritage Institute, Inc.

Reed is an internationally sought-after teacher, choreographer, producer and performer of acrobatic, flash and improvisational rhythm tap. He directs the St. Louis Hoofers, a youth professional tap group with members from Missouri, Oklahoma and Colorado, which recently returned from the Duisburg Tap Festival in Germany. He was artist-in-residence at Oklahoma City University from 2001 to 2006. In Japan, he hosts the comedy/variety show Robert Hall, created specifically for him by FujiTV. He was a featured performer this past May in “The Harold ‘Stumpy’ Cromer Tap Experience” produced by New York’s Tradition in Tap.     

As well as Reed, these artists are performing in All That Tap:

●  Dr. Marion Coles, veteran of ‘30s and ‘40s chorus lines; performed with Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway; directs the Silver Belles, group of former chorus line dancers from Harlem’s Apollo Theater and Cotton Club; 2002 Honorary Doctorate, City University of New York

Black and Blue; first female performer in Noise/Funk; tap spokesperson for Capezio; tap advisor for Dance Magazine..

●  “Wizdom” - Rashad Rounds, hip hop artist; has appeared in Ebony Eyes, Soul Train and Pretty Willie videos; has toured extensively with Pretty Willie, Vibe Magazine, Star and Heroes, Radio One Q95.5 High School Tour and Marty Casey Productions

●  Rod Ferrone, new vaudevillian actor, choreographer, singer, guitarist, hat trick artist; performs and teaches internationally including with Dance Umbrella, Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center

●  Dr. Jimmy Slyde of Boston; renowned for his hallmarks of melody and tone; 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship for Choreography; 2002 Honorary Doctor of American Dance, Oklahoma City University

●  Harold Cromer, age 91, began as tap dancer on roller skates in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen; debuted on Broadway in Du Barry Was a Lady with Ethel Merman, Gypsy Rose Lee, Betty Grable; appeared in theaters with Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Count Basie                  - MORE

 

●  Shelley Oliver, Canadian-born tap dancer, choreographer, and educator; artistic director of The Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers performing with David Leonhardt Jazz Group touring jazz festivals and concerts worldwide; founding member of Manhattan Tap

●  Karen Callaway Williams, first female tap dancer in Riverdance–The Show; only female tap dancer and dance captain in Riverdance on Broadway; featured performer with symphony orchestras including Indianapolis, Baltimore, Cincinnati Pops, Toronto; charter member of New Jersey Tap Ensemble

●  Logan Miller, 18-year-old Arnold resident, protégé of Robert L. Reed,  listed among the top 20 tap dancers age 20 and under in Dance Spirit Magazine in 2005; specializes in technique and style of Four Step Brothers; recently awarded $50,000 scholarship to New York’s Hofstra University which he plans to attend this fall to further pursue dance and film

●  MADD Rhythms, diverse young tappers from all over the city of Chicago, ages 11 to 26, co-directed by Bril Barrett, formerly of Rierdance national tour, recently completed Absolute Tap tour and Amsterdam’s Broadway Soul Jam

●  Robert L. Reed III, son of Robert L. Reed, who performs and teaches worldwide; toured with Savion Glover in the 2003 international Noise/Funk

●  St. Louis Hoofers Club, featuring young dancers from age 9 1o 19 from Missouri, Oklahoma, and Colorado, under the direction of Robert L. Reed

These artists are not performing but are teaching during the St. Louis Tap Festival:

●  Dr. Prince Spencer began dancing 50 years ago with “The Four Step Brothers,” first black artists to play at Radio City Music Hall. 2002 Honorary Doctor of American Dance, Oklahoma City University

●  Melba Huber of McAllen, Texas; has had 50-year-plus career as world famous tap teacher and author, in 1996 was first non-New Yorker to receive Flo-Bert Award at Lincoln Center for “life achievement in improving the art and skill of the tap dancer”

            The St. Louis Tap Festival is supported in part by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; Regional Arts Commission; and National Endowment for the Arts.

 

 

 

 
 

 



 

 

 

 

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