Savion Glover Revives 'The Tap Dance Kid'

Savion Glover instructs students in rehearsal for NJPAC's revival of The Tap Dance Kid; photo by Yasmeen Fahmy, courtesy of NJPAC

Tony Award–winning tapper Savion Glover is giving back to his hometown community in Newark, New Jersey, by directing and choreographing New Jersey Performing Arts Center's revival of the Broadway hit that launched his career, The Tap Dance Kid.

September 13–15, you can see the group of young dancers Glover handpicked from throughout the New Jersey and New York areas, as they bring the 1983 story to life in a new and modern way. Here, Glover shares a bit about creating movement inspired by the show's original Tony Award–winning choreography by Danny Daniels, as well as what it's like to revisit the show that changed his life.

On revisiting the show

"I'm honored. I'm happy. I'm overjoyed at the fact that The Tap Dance Kid will have life again in any capacity. This was the show that changed my life. I didn't know what I was getting myself into when my mother sent me into the audition. It gave me a new life, so I have a particular love and reverence for it. For me to be able to direct and choreograph it at this point is an honor. I feel like I am honoring the piece and the people who introduced me to it. We are allowing their influence and contribution to be recognized yet again in the theater."

On working with the rising generation of talent

"This is a very peculiar group of young dancers. From my time with them, I'm reminded of the importance of teaching. They all have the aptitude to be great, but my concern is about how they are being taught. By the time they get to me at this point, I wish they could get their money back from their teachers, because it seems as if they are teaching the kids too fast. They are missing a lot of the necessary tools and basic understandings that will be helpful to them in the future. Are they ready for Broadway? No. Are they ready to learn? Most definitely. They are ready to be taught and ready to learn; we just have to be ready to teach."

On choreographing a two-time Tony Award–winning production

"My goal is to allow everyone to feel presently nostalgic. We do this by taking something from the '80s and adding an energy like mine—meaning, someone from the '80s who has continued growing to the present day. That way, it maintains its nostalgia while staying relevant. We adjust the music a bit for things that may have been sung in a square before, and now we are allowing them to be sung in a triangle. Some lyrics may have said something like, 'I don't have time; write me a note and I will get back to you.' Now, we are saying, 'Hey, why don't you shoot me a text?' We are doing things like that to bring it up to date."

Check out The Tap Dance Kid this weekend, September 13 and 14 at 7 pm, and September 15 at 2 pm, in NJPAC's Victoria Theater.

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