As a tap dancer, you're a student of history—whether you know it or not. Tap technique today is intimately connected to the great hoofers of the past. "Tap is incredibly personal, because all of these individuals have added to the public domain, the pool of steps you draw from," says Brian Seibert, dance critic for The New York Times and author of What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing. "You're constantly giving shout-outs to dancers who came before you."
It's also important to recognize tap's pioneers because they repeatedly broke down barriers, making tap accessible to everyone. "You don't have to overcome something to be here," says Tony Waag, artistic executive director of the American Tap Dance Foundation. "You're not the first black person or woman, you don't have to carry a certain card or have a particular lineage to succeed at tap. Gregory Hines used to say, 'If you have the shoes, you're in.' "
Come meet the artists who've shaped tap history. Because if you're a tap dancer, they're your family, too.
Quick: Name a tapper who happens to be awesome.
You thought of Savion Glover, right? Most people probably did.
Savion is one of the most gifted, hardest-working dancers around — but don't think he hasn't been busting his rhythmically gifted butt to get where he is today. In fact, Savion made his way onto the professional dance scene when he was just 10 years old and auditioned for a Broadway show.
Now, the handsome hoofer (and Tony Award-winning choreographer, actor and director) is teaming up with tapper Marshall Davis, Jr. in a performance tribute to Gregory Hines and other noteworthy (translation: legendary) tap greats.
The show — SoLe SANCTUARY: A hoofer's meditation on the art of tap — debuts at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., March 30–31. Tickets are reasonably priced (get 'em for just $29!), so score yours today.
Oh and Savion, you can tap for us anytime, whether you're saluting tap legends, bringing in the noise and funk or channeling your inner tapping penguin. You rock.
month of endless Hamilton celebration Tonys season, Broadway fans! This morning, delightful Book of Mormon alums Andrew Rannells and Nikki M. James announced the 2016 Tony Award nominees. Can you guess which show not only dominated the list, but actually broke the Tony nomination record—which, fun fact, was previously held by The Producers and Billy Elliot? We'll give you .5 seconds. (Don't throw away your shot.)
That's right: In a surprise to pretty much nobody, Hamilton led this year's Tony pack, picking up a staggering 16 noms. That includes nods in all the "biggie" categories (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score), a slew of acting nominations and—YAY!—a nom for genius choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler. In fact, the Best Choreography category is crowded with fantastic names this year, including Savion Glover for Shuffle Along and Hofesh Shechter for Fiddler on the Roof.
Lin-Manuel Miranda (center) and the fabulous dancers of Hamilton (photo by Joan Marcus, courtesy Hamilton)
Full list of nominations is below. Tune in to the 70th annual Tony Award ceremony June 12 to see what promises to be a fabulous set of performances—and to find out who takes home what. (And hey, Hamilton fans: Get ready for our July/August issue. Just you wait...just you wait.)
King Charles III
School of Rock—The Musical
Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Best Revival of a Musical
The Color Purple
Fiddler on the Roof
She Loves Me
Best Book of a Musical
Bright Star, Steve Martin
Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda
School of Rock—The Musical, Julian Fellowes
Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, George C. Wolfe
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Bright Star (Music: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell / Lyrics: Edie Brickell)
Hamilton (Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda)
School of Rock—The Musical (Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber / Lyrics: Glenn Slater)
Waitress (Music & Lyrics: Sara Bareilles)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
Frank Langella, The Father
Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III
Mark Strong, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Laurie Metcalf, Misery
Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed
Sophie Okonedo, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Michelle Williams, Blackbird
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Alex Brightman, School of Rock—The Musical
Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Laura Benanti, She Loves Me
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Jessie Mueller, Waitress
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Reed Birney, The Humans
Bill Camp, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
David Furr, Noises Off
Richard Goulding, King Charles III
Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Pascale Armand, Eclipsed
Megan Hilty, Noises Off
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Andrea Martin, Noises Off
Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton
Christopher Jackson, Hamilton
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Beowulf Boritt, Thérèse Raquin
Christopher Oram, Hughie
Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
David Zinn, The Humans
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Es Devlin & Finn Ross, American Psycho
David Korins, Hamilton
Santo Loquasto, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
David Rockwell, She Loves Me
Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Michael Krass, Noises Off
Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
Tom Scutt, King Charles III
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Tuck Everlasting
Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me
Ann Roth, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Paul Tazewell, Hamilton
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Natasha Katz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Justin Townsend, The Humans
Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Howell Binkley, Hamilton
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening
Justin Townsend, American Psycho
Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, King Charles III
Jonathan Kent, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Joe Mantello, The Humans
Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed
Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
Best Direction of a Musical
Michael Arden, Spring Awakening
John Doyle, The Color Purple
Scott Ellis, She Loves Me
Thomas Kail, Hamilton
George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton
Savion Glover, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Hofesh Shechter, Fiddler on the Roof
Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea
Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan
August Eriksmoen, Bright Star
Larry Hochman, She Loves Me
Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton
Daryl Waters, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Aren't totally-out-of-left-field surprises just the best? Look: When I first heard that Alfonso Ribeiro would be a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars" this season, my reaction was...puzzled bemusement. Carlton from "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"? I mean, the Carlton dance is great and all, but...what?
Aaaaaaaaand then last night happened. I don't care if you're a hardcore "DWTS" fan or if you never watch the show: You need to see Ribeiro's performance. It. Is. Fantastic. And I don't mean fantastic for "DWTS"—I mean fantastic, period.
Let's make it clear here that a lot of credit is due to Ribeiro's pro partner Witney Carson, who a) is a gorgeous dancer herself and b) created a routine that showcases Ribeiro at his very best. But goodness gracious, there's a lot of natural dance talent there!
And he knows it.
After a little Googling, this all makes sense: Back in 1983, Ribeiro had a leading role in The Tap Dance Kid on Broadway. (His understudy? Baby Savion Glover, who later took over the show's title role.) The following year, Ribeiro appeared as a dancer in one of Michael Jackson's Pepsi commercials (which you need to go watch right now). He even has a dance instruction book. Who knew??
Enjoy—and keep an eye on this dynamic "DWTS" duo!
(Courtesy Savion Glover Productions)
Here at DS, we like to ask young dancers questions like: Who inspires you? Who's your favorite dancer? Who would you drop everything to go see? It's always interesting to hear the variety of names that pop up. But when it comes to aspiring tappers, one man almost always makes the list: Savion Glover. For example, we recently learned that Sophia Anne Caruso (NBC's The Sound of Music Live!) and Ansel Elgort (Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars) both cite Glover as one of their dance idols.
Even established hoofers—like Michelle Dorrance, Jason Samuels Smith and Chloé Arnold—mention Glover when they recall the people who inspired and influenced them along their tap journey. Long story short? This man is a dance legend.
But unlike some other dance legends—such as Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gregory Hines, Gene Kelly and Sammy Davis Jr.—we don't have to rely on old videos to see him dance. We can see him live! This week, Glover is coming to the Joyce Theater in NYC for a short run of his new show, OM. Performances begin on June 24 and go until July 12, and tickets start as low as $10! Click here for more info on the show and here to purchase your tickets.
In the meantime, check out this clip from the 1996 Tony Awards, featuring Glover's award-winning choreography for Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk: