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Chicago Human Rhythm Project to Present '25th Rhythm World'

The Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP), celebrating 25 years of creating community through American tap and contemporary percussive arts in world-class, innovative performance, education and outreach programs, presents the 25th annual Rhythm World. The oldest and most comprehensive festival of American tap and contemporary percussive arts in the world takes place July 6-August 2 at CHRP's American Rhythm Center in Chicago's historic Fine Arts Building, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Jazz Showcase. Rhythm World is presented in association with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

In the fifth year of a five-year international focus (Canada, Japan, Brazil, Europe), CHRP's annual festival, directed by CHRP Founder and Director Lane Alexander, spotlights Chicago and U.S. artists in an extraordinary roster of virtuoso performers and master teachers. Activities and events include performances at the Jazz Showcase and the Edlis Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; a tap jam and a student showcase; and a wide range of residencies, courses, workshops, master classes and conferences for the field at the American Rhythm Center, located in the historic Fine Arts Building. Returning this year is Bessie Award winner and STOMP star Nicholas Young and his Institute For The Rhythmic Arts (IFTRA).

Performances: Tony Award Winner Tommy Tune and Master Teaching Artists

The crowning events of Rhythm World are performances by the world's leading percussive dance artists during the final week. On July 27 at 8 p.m., Rhythm World's virtuosic master artists perform with the Greg Spero Trio at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Court. Tickets are $10-25 in advance at 312-542-2477 or at the door.

CHRP's 25th Anniversary Jubalee gala benefit takes place Thursday, July 30 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The evening, which includes a reception and dinner, welcomes nine-time Tony Award-winning performer (which will become 10-time Tony winner when he receives the 2015 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement June 7), choreographer and director Tommy Tune, who performs his one-man show Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales, accompanied by his music director, Michael Biagi. CHRP also presents Tune with its 25th Anniversary JUBA! Award for Extraordinary Lifetime Achievement. For more information, call 312-542-2477 or visit chicagotap.org.

The JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance concerts, the grand finale of CHRP's 25th anniversary season, feature a host of extraordinary foot drummers and percussive arts masters July 31 and August 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Edlis Neeson Theater at the MCA, 220 E. Chicago Avenue. The programs, accompanied by the Greg Spero Trio, are as follows:

July 31-Up-and-coming and international masters of American tap connect with the singular Billy Strayhorn, the late legendary pianist, composer and Duke Ellington collaborator, for new arrangements by Greg Spero as well as new choreography set to Strayhorn's cherished songbook, including "Take the 'A' Train."Headliners include Martin "Tre" Dumas and Nico Rubio of Jus'LisTeN, tour de force soloists Star Dixon and Jumaane Taylor, Daniel Borak (Switzerland), Marina Coura (Brazil), Yukiko "Smilie" Misumi (Japan) and more.

August 1-The rousing closing performance features performers who hail from Chicago and across the U.S. CHRP resident ensemble BAM! performs Michelle Dorrance's Princess Grace Award-commissioned choreography Push Past Break and CHRP Founder/Director Lane Alexander's sublime works Reflections and Prisms. Virtuosos gracing the stage include Derick K. Grant of Broadway's original Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk, Sarah Savelli, Dianne "Lady Di" Walker and Jay Fagan.

Tickets to the "JUBA!" performances are $25-35 and go on sale May 3.

Call 312-397-4010 or visit mcachicago.org

Performances sell out every year, early purchase is advised.

All programming is subject to change.

Tap Scholar Awards

Each year, CHRP awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to deserving, talented teens so they may participate in Rhythm World. This year, 15 studentswill earn tuition support through auditions in Chicago and around the globe (Tokyo, Zurich, Rio, Stuttgart and Toronto). "These scholarships support CHRP's mission to build community by bringing together students from different backgrounds and places to meet their international peers and study with great and emerging masters," said Alexander. Founded in 1995 to honor the life of CHRP Co-Founder Kelly Michaels, the Rhythm World Tap Scholar Award program has provided more than $300,000 in financial aid to more than 300 talented, deserving young dancers from Chicago and throughout the United States as well as international exchange students.

Education programs

Returning this year after its successful debut in 2014 is Nicholas Young's Institute For The Rhythmic Arts (IFTRA), which provides up to 25 students (selected by application and audition) with a one-of-a-kind experience for emerging young professionals: a three-week (July 6-24) intensive program for advanced and professional tap dancers that integrates foot, hand and body percussion led by STOMP alumnus and tap dancer extraordinaireNicholas Young, Bessie and Princess Grace Award winner Michelle Dorrance, master percussionist John Angeles , CHRP Founder and Director Lane Alexander, percussive artist Jumaane Taylor and more. Participants will perform with the YTEC participants Sunday, July 26 at a venue to be determined.

Courses, workshops and master classes take place July 27-August 2. The highly respected faculty of master teachers includes special international guests-Daniel Borak from Zurich, Marina Courafrom Brazil and Yukiko "Smilie" Misumifrom Japan-as well as many from the U.S. who have taught at the festival throughout its 25-year history, includingLane Alexander, Bril Barrett, Martin Bronson, Julie Cartier, Zada Cheeks, Star Dixon, Martin "Tre" Dumas, Jay Fagan, Derick K. Grant, Nico Rubio, Sarah Savelli, Jumaane Taylor, Dianne "Lady Di" Walker, Sam Weber,and more.

The Kids Program July 28-31 offers intermediate tappers ages nine through 12 a curriculum including oral and video histories, tap technique classes, improvisation instruction and individual development of style and expressive ability. The Adult Program July 27-30 offers intermediate-level classes and a seminar each day.

Conferences for the field

Now in its 15th year, CHRP's annual Youth Tap Ensemble Conference (YTEC) and PrepTEC, now in its eighth year, take place July 21-26, directed by Gene Medler. YTEC is the most comprehensive program available to tap ensembles. Students work with masters on technique and improvisation, meet with specialists regarding related disciplines and learn new choreography. PrepTEC offers the same opportunities for study to younger tap dancers. More than 130 dancers between the ages of 12 and 19, representing 10 youth tap ensembles from the U.S., gather to study new choreography, technique, improvisation and theatre-related topics. This year's YTEC and PrepTEC participants learn original choreographies from Bril Barrett, Daniel Borak and Cartier Williams. Participants perform with the IFTRA participants Sunday, July 26 at a venue to be determined.

All education programs take place at the American Rhythm Center,

Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

To register, visit chicagotap.org or call 312-542-CHRP (2477) or write to registration@chicagotap.org.


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