`Classical Savion' Delight of Dexterity and Rhythm

Article excerpt

Byline: Gwen Curran For The Register-Guard

Savion Glover, tap-dancer extra ordinaire, and his extraordinary musicians brought the Silva Hall audience to their feet Friday night at the end of his two-hour "Classical Savion" solo tap concert.

As the late great Gregory Hines once said, "(Glover) is the greatest tap-dancer to ever lace up a pair of tap shoes."

Glover, 35, has come a long way from beating on pots and pans in his mother's New Jersey kitchen. At 4 he took drum lessons. At 7 he began tap lessons at the Broadway Dance Center in New York. At 12 he appeared on Broadway in "The Tap Dance Kid," proving himself a prodigy. His banner year was 1996. He received a Tony Award for "Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk," received an NEA grant, and was the youngest recipient of the Dance Magazine award.

His rhythmic dexterity reveals a virtuosity and expressiveness that makes tap a vital contemporary dance form - not a relic of black-and-white movie musicals.

Glover has been quoted as seeing tap as "raw, real rhythm ... Funk has brought a new concept to the world of tap. There is a rhythmic intensity at the roots of the form. It is the basics, but not like tap-dance class ... more the essence of the basics, and it can be done to any music."

Glover proves that with his "Classical Savion." Dancing to traditional Vivaldi, Dvorak, Bach, Shostakovich, Bartok and Mendelssohn, he taps out mind- bending polyrhythms with a dexterity that shows him as a percussionist as well as a dancer.

Directing the chamber ensemble of eight string musicians with his feet and his eyes, he moves with, against, and in between the rhythms of the composer. Sometimes his feet seem to be barely moving and then he will stomp or jump. He finds the unique groove in every piece, putting percussion in concertos, suites and quartets that usually do not have an obvious beat. …