Photo: DanceHouse


DanceHouse In Partnership with Vancouver Tap Dance Society

Dorrance Dance (US) Soundspace

When & Where April 19 & 20, 2024; 8pm | Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton St.

Artistic Director Michelle Dorrance Local Guest Dancer Jeffrey Dawson Musician Gregory Richardson Chorography Michele Dorrance with solo improvisation by the dancers Original Music Gregory Richardson Lighting Design Kathy Kaufmann Costume Design MishayPetronelli, Michelle Dorrance, Byron Tittle

Performers Christopher Broughton, Elizabeth Burke, Warren Craft, Luke Hickey, Addi Loving, Claudia Rahardjanoto, Leonardo Sandoval

Reviewer Nancie Ottem

Soundspace soared through the audience at The Playhouse on Friday night. The Canadian premiere of the mesmerizing foot tapping choreography by American artistic director of Dorrance Dance, Michelle Dorrance,ended too soon for the audience.

It was riveting to watch the sequences of tap routines as the company worked their way through the choreography of the program. Comprised of three pieces, Jungle Blues set to the music of Branford Marsalis, Three to One featuring electronic music and Myelination with its original score kept the very appreciative audience in rapt attention.

Whether sliding across the floor in stocking feet giving the sense of skating to their dance movements or tap dancing on plywood pieces elevated above the stage to the click of their tap shoes the effect was hypnotic. Combined with the lighting that featured the feet or the absence of light so the audience only heard the sound of the beat Soundspace is aptly named. Kathy Kaufmann, lighting designer, used her craft to bring the inspiration for program to the fore giving the sound and the space the intended impact of Dorrance’s vision.

Michelle Dorrance’s tap is bringing the art of tap dance into the mainstream to stand in its own right. One thinks of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly as the purveyors of tap but their routines were in connection with Hollywood musicals. Dorrance takes her inspiration from the history of American tap that harkens back to the early 19th century and adds the depth of historic tradition to the genre of tap.

Tap dance has a strong following in Vancouver as the full house on Friday night attested to. It was a program that strongly resonated with all present.

© 2024 Nancie Ottem