Feet on the ground

Past Perfect; Future Up for Grabs

Some of the music-tap dialogues are unconventional. Kazu Kumagai begins and ends his number accompanied by Qing Hua Zhang on Chinese flute, although in between he's on his own, with a virtuosic spraddle-legged style that sometimes plays speed of feet against an overall impression of slowness. When Walter Freeman dances in an easygoing, assertive manner with acrobatic highlights, his wife, Lisa Freeman, plays the violin. Brenda Bufalino and singer Jay Clayton do a magical turn together—Bufalino speaking poetically of a blue heron she sees, her arms winging as she starts to tap, and Clayton feathering bird calls in and out of scat singing. An electronic delay allows Bufalino to dialogue with her own nimble tapping as well. The number flies.

Savion Glover brings on a young woman with a sax, and mumbles her name (something like Matana). They face each other, profiles to the audience, a short distance apart, and never budge. This is pomo tap: no charm, no traveling around the stage, little shading. Glover hunkers down and sets his feet going—hard, strong, intricate, hardly ever letting up. It's tap as power, as ordeal, as a spell.

Screaming Yellow Zonker: Dairakudakan in Universe of Darah—Return of the Jar Odyssey
photo Richard Termine
Screaming Yellow Zonker: Dairakudakan in Universe of Darah—Return of the Jar Odyssey


Japan Society
July 15 through 19

Tap City 2003, the New York City Tap Festival
The Duke on 42nd Street
July 8 through 19

Gregory Hines can't come to dance his tribute to Sammy Davis Jr., but the four women of Barbara Duffy & Company deliver some of Hines's choreography with brio; Waag sings "What Kind of Fool Am I," and Regio "The Hoofer" McLaughlin delivers "Mr. Bojangles" to bring the whole cast back on so we can applaud and cheer for them some more. All ages, all races, all genders—in love with the glorious sound of metal on wood.

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