Jason Samuels Smith has made everlasting scuff-marks on the tap world. At 15 he joined the Broadway cast of Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk as an understudy and soon scored a principal role and understudied the lead. He toured internationally with Savion Glover’s dance group, Not Your Ordinary Tappers, and starred in Imagine Tap! at the Harris Theater in Chicago. In 2003, the number he choreographed for the Jerry Lewis/MDA Telethon earned him an Emmy and an American Choreography Award. That same year, he created the First Annual L.A. Tap Festival, for which he was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the city. He also founded the company A.C.G.I. (Anyone Can Get It). Shreveport, LA, even declared April 23 “Jason Samuels Smith Day.” That’s one holiday DS will definitely celebrate! —Monica Levy
You’re entering a new and exciting stage of life where the people you meet and the experiences you accumulate will help shape your future forever. You’ll make some tough decisions, but carry no regrets, hold no grudges and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The tap community will become more significant to you over time, and the elders will become your mentors. Listen to their stories, value their wisdom and cherish their enthusiasm. Take time to spend with your grandparents— they can teach you a lot about who you are. Your mother and sister have made major sacrifices for you, as well, work hard and make them proud. Don’t forget to have fun! Enjoy every moment and practice hard. You’ll need lots of humility and patience. You said you wanted to travel the world, right? Keep doing what you’re doing—I have a feeling you will get many opportunities....
Photo: Eduardo Patino