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BWW Dance Review: New Sounds of Tap at the AMERICAN TAP DANCE FOUNDATION

Last week, the American Tap Dance Foundation (ATDF) presented new works by both veterans and emerging tap dancers and choreographers at its spring Rhythm in Motion show in the Theater at the 14th Street Y. This production, curated by Tony Waag, Artistic/Executive Director of ATDF, stretches the boundaries of tap dance to present groundbreaking choreography, showcase innovative technique, and provide a platform to present, move forward, and grow the art of tap.

The first piece, Into the Rhythm, featured Kazu Kumagai and Max Pollack in a rhythmic play with different beats. Inspired by Pollack's Afro-Cuban body-based percussion and rhythm, the dancers amazed audiences as they danced on, below, and above the beat. I appreciated their ability to change from hard and sharp to soft and light movements. It takes great talent to be able to switch like that.

Next was an interesting cultural mash-up of tap dance and Judaism by Pollack in a work entitled Nu. The dance featured the lovely voice of Livya Howard-Yashar singing songs in Yiddish, Brian Marsella on the piano, and Brandon Terzic on the oud. It was different than what I expected, but I enjoyed it. Pollack is such a talented individual! His ability to dance while making sounds with his body and voice at the same time is impressive!

Roots by Leonardo Sandoval, is a start of a larger project that seeks to explore the history of tap dance and honor the legacy of those who have passed on this tradition, particularly in the African-American culture. Featuring Dan Laureano on the guitar and soulful voice of Lilian "Storm" Marrero, Sandoval is embarking on a wonderful journey and I hope I am able to watch it flourish. He is such a smooth dancer with clean and precise sounds.

Jungle Blues by Michelle Dorrance brought you to the club in a fun piece where the dancers' character plays and interacts with the music. I thought it was very creative. Tap ensemble, Apartment 33 with choreography by Chloe Arnold, brought a new flare in an upbeat dance with fast footwork and a rap by Asha Griffith to the song of Not Afraid by Eminem in a dance by the same name.

The program concluded in a light and enjoyable piece entitled Simpler Times by Felipe Galganni with vocals by Jackie Ribas and Tony Romano on the guitar. It looked like a fun dance that is all about the footwork. I particularly loved the parts of unison. Galganni was inspired by organic movement in this joyful, relaxed, and carefree piece.

The Rhythm in Motion show is a true treasure for the tap and dance community. It is a beautiful blend of paying tribute to the past while moving forward in the 21s century!

Photo Credit: Vitaliy Piltser

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