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Review: TAP VIRTUOSO at Théâtre Du Châtelet

Aurélien Lehman performs at the Châtelet

Aurélien Lehmann: Tap Virtuoso

Still the temple of musical theater-related shows, the Théâtre du Châtelet opened its doors for a sold-out matinée to Aurélien Lehmann for his Tap Virtuoso solo concert, accompanied by well-known pianist François-René Duchâble and staged by renowned tap dancer Jelly Germain.Review: TAP VIRTUOSO at Théâtre Du Châtelet

A self-taught tap dancer, Lehmann grew up in the north of France, where he performed old bawdy French songs by Fernandel in his father's cabaret Les Orgues de Roubaix at the tender age of 10. After playing rugby for 13 years, he discovered Fred Astaire when he was 15 years old, falling madly in love with Rita Hayworth, which led him to decide he would be a tap dancer, starting to learn by himself with just a block of wood and a metronome. While still studying at Science Po in Paris, he also learned to play the accordion and, to better master Roma folk music, speak Serbian-Croation, even living with a Roma family for two years, a time he remembers as the happiest of his life. Back in France, he started going viral online with humorous songs and spoof videos, reaching millions of views on YouTube while teaching French literature in Lille.

He started Tap Dance Paris in 2017, creating some original shows such as From Paris to Broadway, Back to Tap, and Le Very Tap Show, showing off his talent as a soloist improvising to jazz but who soon found his niche tap dancing to classical music, which led him to participate in some prestigious special events throughout Europe.Review: TAP VIRTUOSO at Théâtre Du Châtelet

Obviously with pedagogical intentions aimed at the large portion of children attending his Tap Virtuoso show on February 5th, Lehmann explained the basics of tap dancing to the packed audience in the large Châtelet auditorium as humbly as if he were in a small studio. Even though Lehmann's 1-hour concert concluded with Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm," with the dancer barely just singing the song, the ever-graceful soloist focused his talent on interpreting classical works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schuber, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Brahms and Rimsky-Korsakov. Injecting quite a bit of humor into his show, Lehmann has a lot of stage personality, connecting well with the audience.

It's a very good thing that tap dancing is now done to modern music, even rap and hip hop, and is no longer catering to just jazz and Broadway, even if the vocabulary Lehmann uses belongs to traditional American tap dance vernacular. A fast-paced introduction to tap dancing for the general public and an interesting take on tapping to classical music for connoisseurs, this show was not to be missed, if only for Lehmann himself, a most promising performer.



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