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Tap Dancing

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tap Talk at the VPL

Meet the New Tap Dance Collection at the VPL! A program open to all ages Thursday October 147:00 pm-9:00 pm Free

http://www.vpl.ca/cgi-bin/Calendar/calendar.cgi

Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level Central Library350 West Georgia Street At this interactive event presented by the West Coast Tap Dance Collective, there will be live presentations and short demonstrations of some of the material covered in the new collection of tap DVDs and books now available at the VPL.

Learn about the original tap collective, The Copasetics, and pick up a couple of moves too.

For more information please contact VPL - Fine Arts and History at 604-331-3716

(Thanks for the tip Siobhan!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gregory Hines & Steve Martin

Steve Martin continues to grow on me. Check out the fly tap dance moves. Oh, the over the tops. Wonderful.

And that Gregory Hines guy isn’t so back either! *snicker*

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Fred Astaire and My Tap Dance Sunday

Today was a day of tap dance. I have a class on Sundays that I take with the venerable Jim Hibbard. The class this morning was fantastic. Then this evening I attended a fundraiser and “thank you” dinner for the great Lynn Dally of Jazz Tap Ensemble.

Now here’s a little Fred Astaire for you to watch. I love this number.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Andy Mckee on YouTube is really rocking my socks

Andy Mckee - Drifting - http://www.candyrat.com
Watch it here.

Tappers will love it.

Here’s what Don Ross on Candyrat.com has to say: “In my humble opinion, Andy is the most innovative and exciting fingerstyle guitarist to emerge in years. Still in his 20’s, Andy has developed a mastery of the 6-string guitar and the harp guitar that leaves me speechless. He is the most textural player of the instrument since Michael Hedges, and he creates sonic architecture worthy of the great modern composers for any instrument.”

Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy Feet Opens Today

The Penguins have arrived!

Check out the latest animation feature from Warner Bros., Happy Feet.

Who cares what the storyline is. Savion Glover does the tapping for the lead penguin, Baby Mumbles.

Opens today.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hey Tappers Melissa Frakman Is In Vancouver

SAT, JULY 22 at Harbour Dance

BEG 10 AM
INT 11 AM
ADV 12 PM-2PM **SPECIAL 2-HR CLASS

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tap Talk at the VPL

Heather Cornell, Jeni LeGon, William Orlowski

I just attended Tap Talk at the Vancouver Public Library. It was an hour presentation on three Canadian tap dance legends: Heather Cornell, Dr Jeni LeGon and William Orlowski. The fantastic thing is that all three are still alive. I hate when we only honour people after they’ve passed.

Heather Cornell was born in Canada and went on to train in New York and start Manhattan Tap. She is a phenomenal dancer and I admire her because she works to be a member of the band rather than a solo artist with a back up band. We saw several video clips of her choreography and I’m astounded by the sounds that people can make with their feet and hands.

Dr Jeni LeGon is one of my favourite tap dancers, and she lives in Vancouver. She is the epitome of cheery. I love talking to Jeni and hearing her stories about dancing with the Count Basie band and with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Jeni is cute now but my word was she ever a beauty. If you haven’t seen it, rent Hooray for Love to see Bojangles dancing and singing with Miss Jeni.

William is a true Canadian, born in Canada, trained in Canada and stayed in Canada to co-found the National Tap Dance Company. He’s renowned for bringing narrative to tap dancing. We watched a video clip of a tap/theatre performance about two spat-prone lovers having a telephone conversation. The whole conversation is in tap.

Tomorrow is the big show, Tap To It, at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. 2 pm or 7 pm. Tickets at Ticketmaster. It will be a tap ball for sure.

In other tap dance news, my friend Carmelle, who is a great Vancouver tapper, had a baby girl on Tap Dance Day, the 25th. And Brock Jellison, whose tap show 77 Minutes I previously blogged about, will be performing on June 1 at the SYNC.

the SYNC @ Nettwerk - Vancouver

June, 1 2006 at 77 MINUTES Featuring NEW Unreleased Music by BROCK JELLISON LIVE @ the SYNC
1648 West 2nd Ave, Vancouver, V6J 4R3
Cost: $10.00

77 Minutes imagines a desperate vision of a possible future where a despotic government imposes extreme censorship on individual expression. Join us at the SYNC @ Nettwerk to be a part of a special encore musical concert from the theatre/dance production. Tickets can be purchased at the SYNC on tues-sat 10am-4pm. Please email questions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

That’s all for now. Snap your fingers. Keep a beat. Think about tap dancing.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Celebrate Tap Dance Day

Hey yesterday was National Tap Dance Day and tomorrow is the start of the Tap Day events here in Vancouver.

Saturday: LIBRARY TAP PERFORMANCE
Tap Talk: Legends of Canadian Tap Dance
Co-hosted by the West Coast Tap Dance Collective and the Arts and History Division of the Vancouver Central Library.

This hour-long presentation on Canadian Tap Dance includes lecture, video and live performance. It highlights the careers of 3 legends in Canadian tap dance: Heather Cornell, William Orlowski and Dr. Jeni LeGon.

Details: Saturday, May 27 at 3:00 in the Alice McKay room, Vancouver Central Library—350 W. Georgia.

Sunday: TAP TO IT
4th Annual Tap Dance Day Celebration
Vancouver East Cultural Centre, 1895 Venables Street, Vancouver, BC

This year’s celebration will honour the contributions of Canadian tap legend William Orlowski.

Sunday, May 28, 2006, 2 pm show ($19) and 7 pm show + gala ($24).

Tickets can be purchase through Ticketmaster.

Tappity tap.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tap To It Vancouver

I was talking to Roland Tanglao tonight about tap dance and here’s the update on cheap and incredible tap dance in Vancouver this month according to WestCoastTapDance.com.

CELEBRATE NATIONAL TAP DANCE DAY

TAP TO IT—4th Annual Tap Dance Day Celebration
Vancouver East Cultural Centre, 1895 Venables Street, Vancouver, BC

May 28, 2006, 2 pm and 7 pm shows.

Tickets can be purchase through Ticketmaster.

Matinee, 2 pm show
$19 regular admission
$14 students & seniors

Evening, 7 pm show
$24 show & gala

*** Partial proceeds to benefit the Pacific Parkinsons Research Institute.

————————-

LIBRARY TAP PERFORMANCE

TAP TALK: Legends of Canadian Tap Dance

Co-hosted by the West Coast Tap Dance Collective and the Arts & History Division of the Vancouver Central Library
Description: This hour-long presentation on Canadian Tap Dance includes lecture, video and live performance. It highlights the careers of 3 legends in Canadian tap dance: Heather Cornell, William Orlowski and Dr. Jeni LeGon. Information about our local Vancouver tap scene will be shared and audience members will be treated to a live performance by Vancouverís Urban Tap Squad.

Details: Saturday, May 27 at 3:00 in the Alice McKay room, Vancouver Central Library—350 W. Georgia.

————————-

MOVING PICTURES: Nancy Haver has illustrated a picture book featuring the career of tap dance legend Dr. Jeni LeGon.

What Tap Dancing’s All About
According to Dr. Jeni LeGon
by: Nancy Haver
32 Pages - Paperback

$28 + shipping from Tap Emporium

http://tapemporium.com/TapBooks/WhatTapDancingsAllAbout/index.html

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tap Talk: Legends of Canadian Tap Dance

The West Coast Tap Dance Collective and the Arts & History Division of the Vancouver Central Library are co-hosting a 1-hour presentation on the legends of Canadian Tap Dance.

Details: Saturday, May 27 at 3:00 in the Alice McKay room, Vancouver Central Library—350 W. Georgia.

This hour-long presentation on Canadian Tap Dance includes lecture, video and live performance. It highlights the careers of 3 legends in Canadian tap dance: Heather Cornell, William Orlowski and Dr. Jeni LeGon. Information about the local Vancouver tap scene will be shared and audience members will be treated to a live performance by Vancouverís Urban Tap Squad.

I have had the pleasure of taking classes with Heather Cornell and Jeni LeGon. They are certainly living legends.

 

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Van “The Man” Porter

Van “The Man” Porter is selling an instructional video of the Orange-Coloured Sky routine. I have a copy in my possession and love it. It’s only $40 CDN for you dance fans out there, and you can buy it from www.vantheman.ca.

For non-tap dancers, there is also a cool clip of Van dancing with a jazz band at the Vancouver Tap Dance Festival.

Here’s the link:
http://www.vantheman.ca/html/clips.htm

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Dance On

When I was younger I used to watch Janet Jackson videos and imitate the dance moves. I wasn’t the only dancer to do that. My entire jazz class one year knew so many of the steps that we created an entire rip off of Miss Janet.

Now, I want to imitate this penguin:
Happy Feet on YouTube.com

My ShoesOn an unrelated dance note, I was just thinking my ballet shoes need to be replaced and wondering if there wasn’t an altar to lay them upon. They’ve been good shoes.

Darren posted these photos of Sergei Diaghilev’s Grave on Flickr. Maybe one day I’ll take them to Venice.

 

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ruckus Dance—77 Awesome Minutes

I was very excited about going to see Brock Jellison’s new work 77 Minutes. It is part of the Vancouver International Dance Festival, I saw him perform a similar style of piece last year, and Brock is one of my favourite Vancouver tappers. When he was running classes at Harbour Dance, I tried to make every Sunday. It was a physical and mental workout for me. The steps were fast and the music was hard. But Brock can also be a sweet guy and he’s fun to dance with, “lively” doesn’t do justice to describe his personality.

My first surprise of the evening was opening the program to find out that Brock also composed the lyrics and score for the evening, along with Kristian Naso. Holy cow. Brock is always chirping away some song, but I never thought of him as a singer. I recognize that all of my friends are talented beyond belief but it is starting to be a little daunting. What am I doing?

The Globe and Mail does a good job describing the premise of the piece.

The story goes like this: After the Third World War has decimated humanity and self-expression has been outlawed by the powers that be, a band of maverick artists proposes to “dance like it’s their last night alive, because it is,” Jellison says. The authorities arrive on site 77 minutes after the first illegal display of moxie, ready to kill.

Brock describes it as a “dance-ical” and the show certainly was dance opera, dance rock show, dance musical. I still can’t believe that Brock sings most of the show.

Here are the highlights that I recall, and I’d certainly like to watch the show again:

1. Brock does a great job. I’m incredibly happy for him. It’s been many many months of work. And the show kicks ass. James and I agree that it is the best dance we’ve seen in Vancouver in a long time. I know many of the dancers also dance with The Source, which is fine dancing too. My only small critique, because I want to balance my gushing, is there are a couple of moments where I wondered if Brock’s voice could have been a little stronger, but those moments were few and far between, and the raspy, rocker sound in those moments really worked anyway. Overall, his singing was great—little bits of Weakerthans, Martin Sexton, the score from Rent ... if I was more musical, I could draw better comparisons. My point is that it was a professional performance.

On to the choreography. There were big wow moments in the show, and magical, soft, oooo, moments too. Brock’s choreography in particular is hard-hitting and the style is instantly recognizable to me. There are signature steps where I think, yes, that’s true Brock Jellison. He has a distinct style, it is beyond Tap Dogs and I don’t want to compare it to anyone else. It’s Brock and it’s loud and rhythmic.

2. Deanna Teeple is the other vocalist and is utterly amazing. She belts it out, and the moments when the vocals are the most prominent part of the show, she stands as the star.

3. The band. Also very strong. A cool little bass riff in one of the early numbers. Awesome and eerie guitar in the siren/bomb scenes. The music fit with the show and pulled the audience along—not that we were kicking and screaming, but in the scenes where the dancers are being repressed and are kicking, the music is really screaming. There’s also one number with the whirling tubes that the Weakerthans use. That was one of my favourite pieces. It is mostly a grungy, body percussion piece, but that human music mixed with the instrument music is great.

4. There were lots of numbers that I loved. In particular the ones that were high energy and had all the cast on stage. But there were a couple duets and solo pieces that stood out as well. I don’t know all the dancers, but these are the songs I recall enjoying: Welcome to the Rest of Your Life, Mr. Devilman, Freedom Song, Goodnight my Love.

Mr. Devilman was a fantastic tap number with one guy and a group of girls. He was all pimped out and they do him in in the end. But the tap was fast and the dancers certainly caused a ruckus. Loved it.

Freedom Song, I remember thinking this song sounds really good.

Goodnight my Love was a beautiful duet. Very soft and magical.

I wish I knew the names of all the dancers and could call them out properly because there were some huge jumps and turns that the guys performed that were incredibly strong. The women were also really powerful. There was a baton section. Who knew baton would come in handy. It was one of my favourite parts of the show. This one girl in a circle of body percussion performers, twirling this baton. It was not cheerleader/sequined in any way. It was tough. Sasha and Melissa are two people who I’ve taken classes with, I love watching them dance. There was a cirque du soleil type of piece that displayed incredible strength. A bomb goes off and throws all the dancers to the ground and they are all piled up. Out of the rubble appears this tiny girl, lifted into the air. The balance was so controlled. For those who watch ice dance and pairs figure skating—there are those moves that defy gravity, where the female is balanced over head or her entire weight is supported on the guy’s lap. These were the moves. One of the best was a pause where the dancers looked like the letter “K”. The guy was holding the girl off the ground. Her top foot was hooked around his neck and the other was hip level. Both her arms were outstretched. (James and I are going to go home and practice—although I shouldn’t joke, the strength of both dancers was amazing. And there were these gymnastic moves—handstands and flips—that she did all on the palms of his hands. WTF.

Amazing amazing amazing.

You can see why I’m not a dance critic. Full gushing, and too many uses of the word “amazing”. Find another adjective!

Congratulations Brock. You rocked.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Savion Glover’s Improvography hits Canada March 11

There’s amazing tap dancing for those of you in Ottawa too.

March 11 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa:
Tap-dance genius Savion Glover makes his only Canadian appearance. This is hoffer heaven.

Live jazz, amazing and fast tap work.

National Arts Centre website has a little audio clip about him—no tap dancing though.

Don’t know who Savion Glover is? Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk? Black and Blue? Gregory Hines was his mentor?

He’s more than amazing. If you can still get tickets, go for me.

Tap Dancing Legend Jeni LeGon

Vancouver Public Library presents Jeni LeGon and Nancy Haver ...

Friday, March 31
7:30 pm
Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Rooms

Saturday April 1
2:30 pm
Alice MacKay Room

Lower Level
Central Library
350 West Georgia St.
Admission is free

All are welcome.

Jeni LeGon began dancing and performing for audiences on the sidewalks of Chicago. As a solo dancer with the Count Basie Chorus Line, she set her sights on Hollywood. There she landed a role with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson in Hurray for Love, followed by over a dozen other films.

Jeni’s heartwarming story and inspiring career are celebrated in What Tap Dancing’s All About, a picture book for all ages illustrated with vibrant watercolours by Nancy Haver.

[Roland, this is for you.]