[Dixielandjazz] How one man got a new audience for old stuff

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Dec 18 13:25:16 PST 2003

Not OKOM, but Tap Dancing. Savion Glover is a master and he is getting a
New Audience for Tap, a form of dancing long thought to be dead.
Perhaps there is a lesson here? There was for me and I hope to play the
music this way.

If you are in NYC during the Holiday Season, make it a point to see this
show. MAGNIFICENT. Especially if you are a drummer, or otherwise rhythm
oriented. The kids were great too.

Steve Barbone

December 18, 2003 - New York Times


Feet With a Lot to Say and Ways to Say It


      Savion Glover, the tap-dance star, doesn't believe in standing
still. He was constantly on the move on Tuesday night in the first act
of "Improvography," his new two-act show at the Joyce Theater.

That first act was an extraordinary solo lasting about 40 minutes. All
that time, his stamina was unflagging, his energy unquenchable and his
virtuosity unbeatable. It was easy to understand why he has made tap
popular with a whole new audience.

Early in the solo his legs wiggled like playful children. Then, as he
tapped out rhythms, he made his feet seem to chatter, clatter and shout.

Sometimes his feet raced like a roaring locomotive that threatened to
run away with him. But Mr. Glover always remained in control. Indeed, he
took delight in brilliance. Slides and brushing steps were punctuated by
hearty stamps. Allegro sequences resembled bursts of firecrackers.

Fine musical support was provided by an onstage combo that occasionally
played bits of old pop songs. Mr. Glover sometimes sang phrases from
them, admiring "The Way You Look Tonight" and ordering "One for My Baby
and One More for the Road." He even made his tap-dancing sing. At one
point, although the musicians had been playing something else, the
patterned sounds of his feet clearly proclaimed, "Jingle bells, jingle
bells, jingle all the way."

There were moments when Mr. Glover turned his back to the audience and
faced the musicians instead, as if to honor them. They deserved such
honor. Tommy James was the musical director and pianist. The other
players were Patience Higgins (saxophone and flute), Andy McCloud
(bass), Brian Grice (drums) and James Zollar (trumpet).

In the second act to a potpourri of recorded music, Mr. Glover was
joined by members of Ti Dii, the tap ensemble he founded in 2001:
Alexandria Bradley, Marshall Davis Jr., Michelle Dorrance, Hannah
Heller, Maya Smullyan-Jenkins, Andrew Nemr and Cartier Anthony Williams.

The men's steps in group numbers tended to be emphatic, while the women
were jaunty and occasionally saucy. But on the whole the evening's
ensembles were less inventive than the solos.

Nothing could rival Mr. Glover's first-act solo. Even so in the second
act, Mr. Williams, who is 14, danced a chipper solo. But he should
beware of strained facial expressions. And there was an imaginative solo
for Mr. Davis, in which each of his feet created the impression that it
had a mind of its own. Right foot and left foot traded rhythms as if
engaged in a spirited conversation.

According to press releases, "Improvography" includes both fixed
choreography and improvisations. No two performances are likely to be

Audiences have many opportunities to see performances, for the show runs
through Jan. 4 at the Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street,

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