I'M going to continue to tap until I can't move," says Savion Glover. To anyone who has seen this 18 year old kicking up a storm in Broadway's "Jelly's Last Jam," that is a welcome promise.
For young Mr. Glover it is a reaffirmation that his remarkable gift for tap dancing remains at the center of his busy life.
"Jelly's Last Jam" stars Tony-winner Gregory Hines in a dazzling, high-spirited, and often dramatic musical about the life and times of jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton. It is Glover's third show on Broadway. Eight years ago, audiences marveled at the moves of the lightfooted 10-year-old Glover in "The Tap Dance Kid," and six years later welcomed him back in the splashy revue "Black and Blue." Now, while performing eight shows a week, he still squeezes in three hours of schooling, a twice-weekly tap class he teaches to advanced students, special lectures to high schoolers around the country, and any spare time on the basketball court.
Glover's mother enrolled him in a Suzuki Method music school at the age of four, and he played percussion with a few other youngsters three years later. Signed to perform at the opening of the Broadway Tap Center, he enrolled in dance classes there, and has been coming back ever since, for 10 years as a student, and now, as a teacher. Does he still practice? "It's not that I don't need to, but I don't have time. I use teaching as my practice time," Glover says.
If the hectic schedule and Broadway pressures seem like a burden for a teenager, Glover knows what keeps him going. "I don't like being too serious. I'm the type of person that, if the mike isn't in the right place when I go on, I just move it. Other people, they'll be all frantic. I'm more relaxed." But the relaxed attitude does not diminish his sense of professionalism or responsibility. He values the traditions taught to him by tap-dance veterans he has worked with during his short but impressive career.
Along with his Broadway credits, he costarred with Sammy Davis Jr. …