On Friday, July 10, I saw Jason Samuels-Smith, Derick K. Grant, Michelle Dorrance, Joseph Webb and Kendrick Jones, on one stage. It is an understatement to say these phenomenal dancers highlighted the Main Event of American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap City in New York City, as instead, they stole the show. That was no easy feat, as tap legends like Brenda Buffalino, Barbara Duffy and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards also performed that evening, and the New Tap Dance Orchestra performed a reconstruction of Buffalino’s 1988 work, Haitian Fight Song.
Yet Smith, Grant, Dorrance, Webb and Jones were the most cool, and exciting performers—not only because of their unbelievable footwork—because of their ability to connect with audiences in a real, and human way. Their performances were about fusing their rhythms with music and sharing that experience with the audience, rather than presenting false emotion or hamming it up for the audience’s approval.
Want more Tap City? Read our May 2009 Cover Feature, “A New Take on New York Tap” about Susan Hebach and Tap City Youth Ensemble here!