Magazine article Dance Magazine

Tap Extravaganza[R] 2003

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Tap Extravaganza[R] 2003

Article excerpt

Haft Auditorium, Fashion Institute of Technology New York, New York May 25, 2003

New York City's annual Tap Extravaganza is a chance for the tap community to not only honor its own but to catch up with acts from around the world.

The annual event celebrated its fifteenth anniversary this year, and coincided with National Tap Dance Day, celebrated on the anniversary of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's birthday. While the event ostensibly honors recipients of the Flo-Bert Awards for Lifetime Achievement in Tap Artistry (named after Florence Mills and Bert Williams), it's also an occasion to see old friends and check out relatively new names laying down the iron around the world.

"Extravaganza" is a big name for such an intimate-feeling occasion. This is a family affair; for the tap family, that is, with touching tributes to this year's honorees--film director Stanley Donen, Broadway legend Tommy Tune, soloist and teacher Dianne Walker, and Ernest "Brownie" Brown, an original member of the Copasetics.

In addition to some spectacular dance tributes, the audience was treated to some thrilling performances generally, a testament to the rich range that exists within the tap world. Performers included COBU, a trio of women from Japan who combined rhythm tap with taiko drumming; Rod Ferrone and Marietta Clark in a vaudeville-style act; Jenny Lane in a tribute to tap legend Eleanor Powell; Gil Stroming and Break the Floor in a Stomp-like rhythm-tap-and-bucket drumming fusillade; teen up-and-comer Michela Marino Lerman; the irrepressible singer Mable Lee; and Rhythm Iss, a quintet of women rhythm tappers impressive as much for their exuberant spirit as for their blistering footwork. TAP HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN A MALE-DOMINATED COMMUNITY, BUT ONE OF THE NICER SURPRISES OF THIS YEAR'S EXTRAVAGANZA WAS THE HEAVY PRESENCE OF WOMEN PERFORMERS. …

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