Go See Savion Glover’s STePz at The Joyce Theater

Savion Glover is serious.

Serious talent. Serious about upholding tap history. Serious about having a good time and making the audience feel joy. Serious is the only way to describe the man after seeing the second performance of his new show STePz at The Joyce Theater in New York on Wednesday night.

With Marshall Davis Jr. and 3CW (3 Controversial Women: Ayodele Casel, Robyn Watson and Sarah Savelli), Glover tore up the stage, his feet going for 32nd-note rhythms at times, but often appearing to barely move. The ensemble showed their stuff to a blazing opener from John Coltrane, “Miles Mode,” and went from there to Prince and on to Charlie Parker, Shostakovich and Miles Davis in the first act. The musicality of the group was mind-blowing, as they matched complicated jazz and orchestral runs note for note in unison.

One of the big highlights of the first act saw Glover and Marshall Davis in a face-off set to the “Mission Impossible” theme. Two sets of stairs were unveiled and the duo syncopated their way all over them, smiling the whole time in friendly competition. (Glover and Davis formerly worked together in Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk on Broadway, and the chemistry showed.) Later, in the second act, they got together again for an a cappella number, “Gregory Mode,” an homage to their mentor, Gregory Hines.

Marshall Davis and Savion Glover

The ladies were no slouches either, with feet flying up and down their own staircase to open the second act to Benny Goodman’s “Bugle Call Rag,” before being joined by the men later in the set. Glover took off on his own to the slow title number, “STePz,” set to Sammy Davis Jr. singing, what else, “Mr. Bojangles.”

When the group came out to close the show with “Stevie,” set to Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke,” the crowd was thrilled. Again, Glover and associates matched the horn section’s lines note for note with their feet. Pretty impressive.

That’s two performances down, 19 to go. The show runs until July 6 at The Joyce, with July 4 the only break in the action. See joyce.org and saviongloverproductions.com for more info. Tickets start at just $10.

Photos by Elijah Paul

Teachers Trending
Cynthia Oliver in her office. Photo by Natalie Fiol

When it comes to Cynthia Oliver's classes, you always bring your A game. (As her student for the last two and a half years in the MFA program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I feel uniquely equipped to make this statement.) You never skip the reading she assigns; you turn in not your first draft but your third or fourth for her end-of-semester research paper; and you always do the final combination of her technique class full-out, even if you're exhausted.

Oliver's arrival at UIUC 20 years ago jolted new life into the dance department. "It may seem odd to think of this now, but the whole concept of an artist-scholar was new when she first arrived," says Sara Hook, who also joined the UIUC dance faculty in 2000. "You were either a technique teacher or a theory/history teacher. Cynthia's had to very patiently educate all of us about the nature of her work, and I think that has increased our passion for the kind of excavation she brings to her research."

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News
Clockwise from top left: Courtesy Ford Foundation; Christian Peacock; Nathan James, Courtesy Gibson; David Gonsier, courtesy Marshall; Bill Zemanek, courtesy King; Josefina Santos, courtesy Brown; Jayme Thornton; Ian Douglas, courtesy American Realness

Since 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards have celebrated the living legends of our field—from Martha Graham to Misty Copeland to Alvin Ailey to Gene Kelly.

This year is no different. But for the first time ever, the Dance Magazine Awards will be presented virtually—which is good news for aspiring dancers (and their teachers!) everywhere. (Plus, there's a special student rate of $25.)

The Dance Magazine Awards aren't just a celebration of the people who shape the dance field—they're a unique educational opportunity and a chance for dancers to see their idols up close.


Here's why your dancers (and you!) should tune in:

They'll see dance history in the making.

Carlos Acosta. Debbie Allen. Camille A. Brown. Laurieann Gibson. Alonzo King.

If you haven't already taught your students about these esteemed awardees, odds are you'll be adding them to your curriculum before long.

Not only will your students get to hear from each of them at a pivotal moment in their careers (and Dance Magazine Awards acceptance speeches are famously chock-full of inspiration), they'll also hear from presenters like William Forsythe and Theresa Ruth Howard.

This year, all the Dance Magazine Awards are going to Black artists, as a step towards repairing the history of honoring primarily white artists.

And meet tomorrow's dance legends.

Dance Magazine's Harkness Promise Awards, this year going to Kyle Marshall and Marjani Forté-Saunders, offer funding, rehearsal space and mentorship to innovative young choreographers in their first decade of presenting work—a powerful reminder to your students that major success in the dance world doesn't happen overnight.

They'll get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes.

Solely teaching your students how to be a great dancer doesn't give them the full picture. A complete dance education produces artists who are savvy about what happens behind the scenes, too.

In 2018, Dance Media launched the Chairman's Award to honor those behind-the-scenes leaders who keep our field moving. Each year's recipient is chosen by our CEO, Frederic M. Seegal. This year's award goes to Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, who is using philanthropy to make the performing arts—and the world at large—more just.

And, of course, see dozens of great dance works.

Where else could your students see selections from Alonzo King's contemporary ballet classics next to Camille A. Brown's boundary-pushing dance theater works? Or see both Carlos Acosta and Laurieann Gibson in action in the same evening? Excerpts from the awardees' works will show your students what it is exactly that makes these artists so special.

So gather your class (virtually!) and join us next Monday, December 7, at 6 pm. To receive the special student rate, please email dmawards@dancemedia.com.

See you there!

Leap! Executive Director Drew Vamosi (Courtesy Leap!)

Since its inaugural season in 2012, Leap! National Dance Competition has been all about the little things.

"I wanted to have a 'boutique' competition. One where we went out to only one city every weekend, so I could be there myself, and we could really get to know the teachers and watch their kids progress from year to year," says Leap! executive director Drew Vamosi. According to Vamosi, thoughtful details make all the difference, especially during a global pandemic that's thrown many dancers' typical comp-season schedules for a loop. That's why Leap! prides itself on features like its professional-quality set design, as well as its one-of-a-kind leaping competition, where dancers can show off their best tricks for special cash and merchandise prizes.

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