I fell in love with tap dance watching the last of the Fred Astaire dance movies(Funny Face, Daddy Long Legs, Silk Stockings), which led me back to the glory days of Fred Astaire movies and dance. Then there are the movies of Gene Kelly (more modern dance than tap, but he could tap with the best), and Donald O’Connor. When 42nd Street was revived, I was there to see all the tapping; same with Chorus Line.
In Chicago we are privileged to have one of the best tap dance organizations in the world (Tap is a uniquely U.S. dance form and so the very best are here.), The Human Rhythm Project. They awe us annually with two weeks of dance performance in the summer, culminating with evenings that bring together the best of the best. My friend, Linda Sugarman and I snagged tickets for last night. Four soloists, followed by 40 minutes of ensemble and solo tap to the jazz of Coltrane. It’s a stretch when you think of the mellow saxophone and the brittle percussion of tap, but when you see the tap rhythm juxtaposed with jazz, there is magic.
It is impossible to describe what happened on the stage. One, I don’t know dance and can’t explain the moves. Two, tap is percussive, so the sound in the theater is the experience. But here is a video that is much like the work we experienced – Jumaane Taylor’s Supreme Love. Something to watch for: when the ensemble is dancing at the beginning, their steps are the same. In the ensemble segment at the end, the rhythm is the same, but all of their steps are different. Just like a band of instruments. We are still walking around in awe.