BWW Review: Tapping Out the Year with DORRANCE DANCE

BWW Review: Tapping Out the Year with DORRANCE DANCE

BWW Review: Tapping Out the Year with DORRANCE DANCE

December 19, 2017 kicked off the season of award-winning tapper, Michelle Dorrance and her internationally-acclaimed company, Dorrance Dance, at The Joyce Theater in New York City. Michelle Dorrance and Dorrance Dance are known for pushing the limits of what tap can do, while staying true to its history and traditions. The company's highly anticipated return to the Joyce stage proved not to be a disappointment!

Walking into the theater, there was quite the buzz in the room. There was a mix of first-time viewers of Ms. Dorrance and her work, and those who ardently follow her and her company. You could definitely feel the excitement in the room as the audience was preparing themselves for the adventure they were about to embark on.

The program opened with the world premiere of "Until The Real Thing Comes Along (A Letter To Ourselves)." The piece started in complete darkness with just the sounds of the taps. As the lights came on, it gave you a feel of being back in the 1920s. This dance featured a special cast with Michelle Dorrance along with choreography and improvisation by three guest artists- Melinda Sullivan, Josette Wiggan-Freund, and Jillian Meyers. This was a fun and playful piece that in a way pays homage to the many hoofers that have come before her. I loved it! It was rhythmically outstanding. I loved the clean, crisp sounds and the syncopation as the dancers moved across the stage, making it look so effortless. I also personally appreciated the fusion of jazz social dances such as the Charleston and Spank the Baby- as both jazz and tap have similar roots as being American dance forms. The cheers and whistles from the audience once the dance was over were so loud! I was sad it was over, but was excited to see what was next.

The evening continued with an extended version of "Myelination", which had its premiere at the New York City Center's Fall for Dance festival in 2015. The piece gets its name from the process of myelin sheath- a membrane that that forms around nerve fibers and allows nerve impulses to move more rapidly,, If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be just, wow! I have never seen anything like this before in my life! It was so good. I loved the fusion between tap and hip-hop dance, It was very cool to watch. The talent that Ms. Dorrance and her company bring to the table is unique and unheard of. I was truly blown away. I also loved the live music accompaniment featuring the sounds of Gregory Richardson, Donovan Dorrance (Ms. Dorrance's brother), and Aaron Marcellus. The audience members rose to their feet to cheer on this amazing group of dancers! It was a wonderful dance as everyone should see.

Since the company's founding in 2011, it has risen to the occasion of honoring the history of tap in a new and dynamic way. This is only the beginning for Ms. Dorrance and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next!

If you haven't already had the pleasure of seeing this company up close and in person, you are missing out! The season at The Joyce Theater continues through December 31. Tickets start at just $10 and can be purchased online at or phone by calling JoyceCharge at (212) 242-0800.

Photo Credit: Todd Burnsed


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Caryn Cooper Caryn Cooper is an arts administrator, educator and performer from Long Island, NY. She began her dance training at a young age studying ballet in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) technique and other dance forms such as tap, jazz, hip hop, modern and West African. She has had the opportunity to perform at various venues in the Greater New York City Area including, Radio City Music Hall, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, the 92Y, Ailey CitiGroup Theater, Central Park, and The Wild Project. Administratively, she has worked for a number of arts organizations including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Hispanico, and the New York City Center. Currently at Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, she works to plan arts education programs for schools and seniors in underserved communities throughout Queens and the New York City Metropolitan area. Caryn is currently a Moving for Life Certified Instructor (MFLCI) where she uses dance to help breast cancer recovery patients and those dealing with pain caused by chronic illnesses. She is currently pursuing a certification as a BodyMind Dancing (BMD) Instructor, under the direction of Dr. Martha Eddy, to guide students as they reflect and learn about the 3-dimenionality and repatterning of the body. Caryn is a member of Americans for the Arts, the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), the New York State Dance Education Association (NYSDEA), and sits on the Young Professionals Committee of The Possibility Project and the Board of Trustees for Moving for Life, Inc. She is also a Contributing writer for BroadwayWorld Dance. She is the proud recipient of the 2016 Field Diversity Award and the 2017 Jessica Wilt Memorial Scholarship through the Americans for the Arts.