Vancouver International Tap Festival: Michelle Dorrance

Date and Venue 30 August 2014, 8pm | Norman Rothstein Theatre, 950 West 41st

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This year’s festival's headline was the talk of the tap world, the Dorrance Dance troupe from New York, headed by Michelle Dorrance. The theatre was sold out for this performance, and the audience were awed by this fabulous company of seven tap dancers who delighted the Vancouverr crowd. A standing ovation and a double curtain call was deserving of this ensemble.

"Grace in movement, grace in generosity, grace in dance, in spirit," in the words of Producer Sas Selfjord, is the motif in this year's fest. And indeed, these dancers did move with grace in their two-part show which had elements of humour, nostalgia, and innovativeness.

The first part of the show was a recent piece SOUNDspace (2013) choreographed by Dorrance. This was a continuous almost one-hour performance with solo improvisations by the dancers. The crowd enjoyed every minute of it, but a big applause went to Dorrance herself who wowed the audience with her moves and steps.

The second act, Delta to Dusk, featured short dances. The crowd was amused with the French Canada tap dance, especially when one of the dancers played gay. This part included some nostalgic tap dancing with music from Nat King Cole (Portrait), Etta James' the blues (Slow Blues/St. Louis Blues), to recent musical pieces by Bon Iver (Wash), and Radiohead's Everything In Its Right Place.

The interesting thing about this show was that the dancers in the Second Act weren't only dancing but also singing and playing musical instruments. What versatile talent!

I hope this troupe comes back again next year and has more than one performance here in Vancouver because there were probably some people who couldn't get in because tickets were sold out.

© 2014 Ed Farolan