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in the spotlight

Tappin’ Over Texas: A Summer Performance Tradition D

by Janice LaPointe-Crump

ancers swirl and sparkle across the stagewith a precision that awakens ourminds to the variety of percussive sounds and styles of tap dance. Lightning fast and sharp running flaps, a delicately

light and supple soft shoe, or driving earthy and steamy hoofin’ double shuffles, the variety of percussive sounds is amazing. This year,Dance CouncilNorth Texas’National TapDance Celebration,with theDallas SummerMusicals, brings Tappin’Over Texas to the outdoor stage nestled under the oak trees at TheMusicHall at Fair Park. The “Before-the- Show-Show” runs five evenings, June 21–25, from6:30-7:15 pm, before the electrifyingWoodyAllenmusical, Bullets overBroadway, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman.DCNT’s Tap Committee produces the five free performances.

The annual tap festival is the “red carpet event forDCNT tappers,” exclaimedMs. jon Fewell andAnnBriggs-Cutaia, co-chairs of the DCNT TapCommittee.DCNT began the tap celebration to commemo- rate the birthday ofBill “Bojangles”Robinson, one of themost innova- tive and illustrious black tappers fromthe 1920s to 1940s. Tap dance is more than sequined precision chorus lines or improvisational stomps and bops. Fromone style to the next, the various companieswill show what awardwinning choreographer,KatelynHarris, reminds us: “Tap dancing allows us to combine the visual aesthetics of dance and the auditory bliss ofmusic.”

The surprise is to see different dance styles performed by themany tap dance companies fromaround the region.Dancing each evening is the elite ensemble, theHoofin’Crew.Dancers came fromall over to audi- tion at the London School ofDance andDana’sDanceAcademy for the Hoofin’Crew. Fourteen talented dancers includingDCNT scholarship studentswere selected to performthe challenging collaborative chore- ography ofKatelynHarris and Laura Price.Creating two original dances,Harris and Pricewillweave together vintage and newtap styles.

Pictured: Laura Price

Abrilliantprincipaldancer,Katelyn, touredinternationallywithTapestry DanceCompany inAustin, TX. In2015 shewas one ofDallas’SixObserver Masterminds andwas featuredonGoodMorningTexas.Knownfor its wicked, cutting-edgedancing, shewas co-artisticdirector ofRhythmic Soles thatperformedatDallasDanceFest in2015.RecentlyKatelynfounded anewDallas-basednon-profit organization, TheVirtuosoProject.Bepre- paredto seeKatelyn’s contemporary, eclecticblendof tapandotherdance genres that bendour expectations ofpercussionwith“commercial appeal andintelligent artistry.”

LauraPrice, a Texas TapLegendawardrecipient,was a long time tapdance performerwiththeRhythmJunkies.Her favoriteproductions,whichshe performedwithcivicmusical theater anddance companies, spanthehey- day of theater tapaesthetic—AChorusLine, 42nd Street, andAnythingGoes. Onthe secondSaturday of themonth,Deb Jones andLaura starteda groupcalledTwo 0’ClockTapwheredancersmet at 2:00pmto share tapideas. Laura’s commitment topreserving vintage tap, thehistoric styles anddances is clear. “Vintage tapis a tapdancer’s inspira- tion,” she says. “Not only is vintage tapentertaining,muchcanbe learned fromthedance legends andhowhistorical events influencedstyles and music of theday.Vintage tapis ahistory lessoninitself!” Laura teaches and createsdances at Tuzer’sDancenter inRichardson, TexasYouthBallet in McKinney, andForcher’sDanceCenter inIrving.

Tappin’AcrossTexas, June 21 – 25, 6:30pmatFairParkMusicHall is sup- portedbyDallasSummerMusicals, theDallasOffice ofCulturalAffairs, TexasCommissionfor theArts,HeritageAuctions andDowntownBusiness News.

Pictured:KatelynHarris. Photo:BrianGuilliaux DANCE!NORTHTEXAS

Janice LaPointe-Crump is a freelancewriter; Co-chair of theDCNTHonors Committee and ProfessorEmerita TexasWoman’sUniversityDance.

a publication of the dance council of north texas vol. 19 • no. 2 May-July 2016 page 5

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