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Divine Rhythm News
Divine Rhythm News
Aug 6, 2007
Debbie Allen Dance Academy presents
5th Annual 2007 Los Angeles Tap Festival
Director Jason Samuels Smith, Co-Director Chloe Arnold
6 days, world-renowned faculty, 85 classes, jam sessions,
student showcase, The cutting contest, and the concert
All Levels and ages are welcome! Group/Studio/Teacher
Attracting students from over 35 states and 8 countries.
Barnum Hall @ Santa Monica High School
601 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA
This Year's Amazing Faculty:
Debbie Allen, Dick Van Dyke, Dule Hill, Jason Samuels
Smith, Chloe Arnold, Acia Gray, Arlene Kennedy, Arthur
Duncan, Channing Cook Holmes, Dianne Walker, Dormeshia
Sumbry Edwards, Greg Russell, Harold Cromer, Jared Grimes,
Joseph Wiggan, Josette Wiggan, MADD Rhythms, Michelle
Dorrance, Danny Wooten, Steve Zee, Maud Arnold, Kevin
Harris, Nzingha Camara
From The Los Angeles Times:
Tapping into a bigger audience for L.A. Tap Festival
A dancer uses a national TV appearance to popularize the
art form and spread word about next week's event.
By Brian Seibert, Special to The Times
August 4, 2007
NEW YORK -- Recently on the Fox TV show "So You Think You
Can Dance," there was a surprise: In between contestants, a
guest artist named Jason Samuels Smith came out and tap
danced, unaccompanied, for two minutes.
With his goatee and dreadlocks, he seemed to fit in with
the show's urban cool aesthetic, and his technique was
clearly impressive -- amazingly fast, intricate. The
audience shrieked. The judges stood to applaud. The chipper
host hugged him and said, "You're doing a great thing for
tap." Then Samuels Smith got to plug a project, the annual
Los Angeles Tap Festival, which will begin its fifth year
of classes and performances Monday.
The great thing Samuels Smith was doing for tap,
presumably, was exposing it to an audience of millions. Yet
asked about his appearance a few days later, he was
grateful but dissatisfied. "Why isn't tap on the show every
week?" he said.
Two minutes wasn't much time either. But on balance,
Samuels Smith said he was still glad for the opportunity.
"Every little battle contributes to the larger war," he
said -- the war to spread the art of tap dancing.
In that war, tap festivals are a kind of boot camp crossed
with a family reunion. The L.A. festival started in 2002,
after dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen invited Samuels
Smith, then 21, to develop a tap program for her school in
Culver City. She'd seen him in the generation-defining
Broadway tap show "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk"
and knew he could show young people that tap was alive.
As a proud son of Hell's Kitchen and a New Yorker to the
core, Samuels Smith required some convincing. "It took a
lot of baking chicken and making cake," Allen says, "but he
realized that there was so much opportunity in Los Angeles,
and more need."
Once Samuels Smith had begun teaching for her, however,
Allen noticed that he kept slipping off to Brazil. He
wasn't going on vacation; he was participating in one of
the dozens of annual festivals that, in the last two
decades, have become the center of a global tap subculture.
That's when Allen decided, "We're going to have our own
festival." And with almost no funding, that's what Samuels
Smith and his partner, Chloe Arnold, set out to organize
The plan might not have gotten off the ground but for the
help of Gregory Hines, tap's movie star, who agreed to
participate for $5. Once he was onboard, the festival was
viable, official. But two days before it opened, Hines died
of cancer. The first L.A. Tap Festival thus became a
tribute to him, and the fifth anniversary edition will be
as well. It will culminate in a tap concert at Santa Monica
High School's Barnum Hall next Saturday night.
In another sense, every year of the festival has been a bow
to Hines and his inclusive spirit. "Put on a pair of tap
shoes and you're in" was his attitude. Recently there's
been some controversy about tap festivals, ever since
Savion Glover told a New York Times reporter in June that
they were "impersonal and business-oriented." But the
charge does not seem to apply in L.A.
Diane Walker, a tap veteran who's a fixture on the festival
circuit, singles out the Los Angeles version for its
welcoming atmosphere. "I call it the Feel Good Festival,"
Allen's studio, Walker says, feels like home. Everyone eats
lunch together. Instructors hang out and talk with students
and watch other classes. Moreover, both Arnold and Samuels
Smith grew up poor enough that they couldn't afford to
attend tap festivals, and they say that in their own
festival they make an effort to provide scholarships and
The festival is also set apart by Allen's insistence on
providing classes in other dance forms: jazz, hip-hop,
African, even flamenco and the Indian classical dance form
kathak. "Tap dance is not as isolated as usual," Walker
explains. "You feel integrated into the world of dance."
The teachers and performers, though, have an L.A. slant.
Arthur Duncan, who tapped for years on TV's "Lawrence Welk
Show," has been with the festival from the start. Dick Van
Dyke went from fan to full participant. This year, Dulé
Hill will join the crew. Before he was on "The West Wing"
and "Psych," Hill danced in "Bring in 'Da Noise."
The festival also concentrates on other L.A.-bred talent. A
sizable percentage can be traced to a single dance studio,
Paul and Arlene Kennedy's Universal Dance Designs. Kennedy
school alum Joseph Wiggan, for instance, has won the
"cutting contest" three years running. More comers will try
to unseat him Wednesday night at the Allen studio, where
nonparticipants can watch the action for $10.
As the name indicates, a cutting contest can be brutal. Yet
the tap festival's isn't. Even in the heat of battle, the
vibe is collaborative, supportive. On wooden platforms, two
dancers trade phrases, continually upping the ante, until
one is declared the winner. Then the contestants shake
hands and hug. That such a spirit emanates from Samuels
Smith is a mark of change, since he was once a vicious
competitor so notorious for humiliating those less skilled
that dancers would leave the room when he entered. L.A., he
says, has mellowed him. The name of his own dance troupe is
Anyone Can Get It.
Since he started teaching at Allen's school, Samuels Smith
has choreographed for the Jerry Lewis muscular dystrophy
telethon -- and won an Emmy for it -- and starred in a
short film, "Tap Heat." He's also put together shows of his
own, such as "India Jazz Suites," a cross-cultural
conversation of a concert with kathak master Chitresh Das.
That and other projects, grown out of his Los Angeles
experience, were what brought him home to New York, where
he thinks there are more opportunities for live
performance. "It's tap's turn," he says, time for something
like "Bring in 'Da Noise," popular but on the dancers'
But he and Arnold agree they've learned an important lesson
producing the Los Angeles festival. As she puts it, "If you
sit around and wait for other people to do things, nothing
is going to happen. We have to create the job
Whatever happens next for Samuels Smith, he says he'll
always carry his shoes. That's what got him onto "So You
Think You Can Dance," after he put them on for an impromptu
performance at a benefit that happened to be attended by
the show's producer.
He'll keep dancing until people listen.
Tap Dance film to have its Chicago premiere on August 19
The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang, an inspiring tap dance
drama made in Chicago, will have its Chicago premiere at
the Black Harvest International Festival of Film, Video, &
TV. The film will screen at 5:00pm on Sunday, August 19,
2007 at the Gene Siskel Film Center located at 164 North
State Street. Following the screening, there will be a
reception sponsored by Lagniappe Creole Cajun Restaurant &
C'est Ci Bon Catering and hosted by Chicago radio
personality, Davante Stone, in the film center’s
gallery/cafe. There will be a 2nd Screening on Tuesday,
August 21 at 8:30pm.
The HD feature stars Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, a world
renowned tap dancer who made history when she became the
first female performer in Savion Glover's Bring in 'Da
Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk on Broadway. Also featured in the
film is Martin “Tre” Dumas, a Chicago-based tap dancer
whose stage credits include Riverdance and The Tap Dance
Kid. Rounding out the cast are Chicago-based actors Dori
King, Trinia Defourneau, Bryan Robert Smith, Moneca Reid,
and Shirl Shang. Bril Barrett of local tap dance troupe,
M.A.D.D. Rhythms, was the tap dance consultant on the
Tickets are $9 and available at the Siskel Center box
office or ticketmaster.com
Tap Dance film to have its Chicago premiere
The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang, an inspiring tap dance
drama shot in
Chicago, will have its Chicago premiere at the Black
International Festival of Film, Video, & TV. The film will
5:00pm on Sunday, August 19, 2007 at the Gene Siskel Film
located at 164 North State Street. Following the
will be a reception hosted by Chicago radio personality,
Stone, in the film center's gallery/cafe. There will be a
Screening on Tuesday, August 21 at 8:30pm. Tickets are $9
and can be
purchased through ticketmaster or at Siskel Film Center
at 312-846-2600 (general information) or 312-846-2800
The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang tells the story of Dee
Miller, a wayward party girl and former tap prodigy, who
an old passion is the friend she needs when her world falls
The HD feature stars Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, a world
dancer who made history when she became the first female
Savion Glover's Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk on
Also featured in the film is Martin "Tre" Dumas, a
dancer whose stage credits include Riverdance and Imagine
Rounding out the cast are Chicago-based actors Dori King,
Defourneau, Bryan Robert Smith, Moneca Reid, and Shirl
Barrett of local tap dance troupe, M.A.D.D. Rhythms, was
the tap dance
consultant on the project.
Written and Directed by Aurora native, Stacie E. Hawkins,
the film was
shot in Chicago in only 17 days during the summer of 2006.
For more information about the film please see our website
www.missthangmovie.com or subscribe to our myspace page at
Aloha Tap Dancers!
Check out what's happening on Maui....
2007 Hawaiian Islands Tap Festival
Maui Arts & Cultural Center
* Artists' Reception
Wednesday October 24 @ 5:30 PM Flatbread Company,
Party with the Stars!
* 35 Classes - 4 days - for all Levels & Ages
Tap with the Pros!
* Participants' Showcase & Jam - Friday October 26 @
Perform for the Stars!
* Professionals' Performance in beautiful Castle Theater
Masters of Rhythm Hana Hou!
Saturday, October 27 @ 7:30 PM
Tickets go on Sale Saturday, August 11
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Disclaimer Before learning from these dvd's please consult
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A message from Sali Ann: Danceviewtimes Tap Piece
Sending you my article on two tap shows, just posted in
Donâ€™t miss out: Salsa in Vegas!
Last Tuesday night at "FEVER" night club (located in the
Casino) was the place to be in Las Vegas. If you missed it,
luck! This Tuesday and every Tuesday night starting at 8PM,
dance lessons with Rene & Susan, at 9PM a Salsa dance
(cash prizes) at 10PM - 1AM dance to the hottest new salsa
band in Las
Vegas, The Michito Sanchez salsa orchestra and 1AM -3AM DJ
For more information click on the links below
Check out the new Connecteddancer.com!
The new version of the website is now live on the web. Go
take a look!
Most listings are free - teachers, studios, jobs, news and
Summer Intensive in Contemporary Dance:
August 13 - 18, 2007 - Only A Few Spots Left!
A Contemporary Dance Workshop for Intermediate, Advanced
Professional Dancers, instructed by Melissa Thodos, Founder
Artistic Director, and ensemble members of the Company.
Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls
1535 North Dayton, Chicago
North and Clybourn Red Line "EL" stop.
Modern & Contemporary Technique, Repertory and Composition
Dancers are guaranteed to experience the award- winning
style of Thodos Dance Chicago and see for themselves how
education and choreography can compliment a dancer's
Each Workshop day will begin with intermediate/advanced
technique. This class is formatted to meet the needs of the
contemporary dancer in training. Modern and Contemporary
classes are offered in the award-winning athletic style of
Dance Chicago, incorporating principles of release,
awareness, fall and recovery, and integrating challenging
Body Health and Wellness
This class is structured for the dancer in training and
such areas as nutrition and injury prevention, massage for
and alignment with yoga. Learn more about how to keep your
healthy and well in the professional and demanding dance
Learn the athletic and innovative repertory that makes
Chicago one of the nation's premiere Contemporary dance
Company's repertoire includes exciting new choreography
Melissa Thodos and ensemble members who are unique in their
dance, teach and choreograph new works, as seen in the
performance series "New Dances." Repertory selections to be
in the showing on the last day of the workshop.
This daily class will challenge dancers to explore their
choreographic voice through principles of composition and
improvisation. This exploration process is similar to that
ensemble members experience when choreographing pieces
performed by the Company for "New Dances." This intensive
the workshop will also include aspects of Contemporary
addition to choreographing with props. The class will
culminate with a
showing of each dancer/choreographer's creation on the last
day of the
2007 - 2008 Season
Audition Call for Men and Women Seeking Professional
with Thodos Dance Chicago. If you were not able to make the
auditions held in June and would still like to audition for
position for the 2007 - 2008 Season, THIS IS YOUR LAST
"Vibrant Choreography" - Dance Magazine
Dance that "grabs you with the first images and never lets
go" - Chicago Tribune
Applicants must be 18 years old and have strong ballet and
dance technique with performance experience.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
1:00 - 4:00 pm
Drucker Center, Menomonee Club for Boys & Girls
1535 N. Dayton, Chicago
North and Clybourn Red Line "EL" Stop
Audition Fee: $10.00
Requirements: head shot, resume, and 3-5 minutes of
2007 - 2008 Season is underway and runs through April 2008
New Dances Choreography Project - April through June 2008
Must be available Mondays - Fridays 9:30 am - 2:30 pm
Select evenings and weekends during performance engagements
Benefits of Joining Thodos Dance Chicago:
-Repertory includes works by founder and artistic director
Thodos, Lar Lubovitch, Ann Reinking, Shapiro & Smith, TDC
members and other noted Chicago choreographers
-Regular company classes with Chicago's top instructors
-State-of-the-art rehearsal space at the Drucker Center of
Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls where Thodos Dance
Chicago is in
-Active 2007 - 2008 season that includes performances and
-Choreographic opportunities through Thodos Dance Chicago's
acclaimed"New Dances" performance series.
-Teaching opportunities for children and adults through
with the Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls and the Chicago
If unavailable to audition, limited appointment
available. Visit us at www.thodosdancechicago.org for more
or call 312-266-6255.
This week I'll be playing two great gigs at opposite
ends of Manhattan.
Monday night, it's a great new group I've been playing with
that performs a
world of Brazilian music, led by singer/guitarist Lucas
Carvalho, a relative
newcomer to the NYC scene. And Thursday, I'll be with Ben
Lapidus and Sonido
Isleno. All the details are below; hope to see you out and
Monday, August 6: Amazion Choro/Samba/Reggae Trio
95 Avenue A (NW corner of 6th St.), in the East Village
R train to 8th St.; 6 to Astor Place; L to 1st Avenue; F to
This is turning into a great little Monday night gig; we’re
playing a range
of original and traditional material, including samba,
reggae, choro, and
forro! From 9pm to 12.
w/Lucas Carvalho: vox and guitar
Alby Roblejo: percussion
me: soprano sax and flute
Thursday, August 9: Sonido Isleno
809 Sangria Bar & Grill
112 Dyckman St., near Nagle Ave.
1 train to Dyckman
Come check us out in upper Manhattan; Bomba, Plena, Rumba,
we do a little of everything! 8:30pm - 12 midnight
EMPOWER YOUR SOLE!