Venue:The Vancouver Playhouse
Date:September 2, 2002
Reviewer: Ross Michael Pink
To a full house, with energy in the air, the
Vancouver Tap Dance Society presented an extraordinary and gifted
afternoon of Tap Dance at Theatre on September 2. The performance marked the third annual
Vancouver International Tap Dance festival.
Tap dance is not customarily seen by Vancouver audiences yet judging from the enthusiastic response,such performances can enjoy great success.
The evening was hosted by the affable Cholly Atkins known affectionately as " the man with the moves." A tap dance legend, he has toured with leading bands such as Cab Calloway, Count Basie and the velvet voiced Billie Eckstein. Atkins has also directed stage acts for the likes of Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and The Supremes. In 1989, Atkins won a Tony award for his choreography of the Broadway show, Black and Blue.
The afternoon featured a medley of tap artists, each performing a short set. The range of talent was remarkable. Performance highlights included Ms. Terry Brock, who resembles a young Ginger Rogers. She electrified the audience with her graceful, classy tap moves. Ms. Brock, a former member of the prestigious Jazz Tap Ensemble, has shared the stage with Gregory Hines, Savion Glover and the Nicholas Brothers. After Brock performed, Atkins spoke for many when he summed up her graceful and romantic performance with the remark, " there is a whole lot of love out there."
Perhaps nowhere is the intensity and beauty of Tap Dance better combined than with the artistry of Vancouver native, Joel Hanna. At a young age, he is already a master of Irish dance and became a star with the famous Riverdance troupe that dazzled world stages a few years ago. Hanna danced rythmically to the beats of a drum. After a sequence of drum beats, he would reply with dazzling tap steps. It was an extraordinary moment of creative dance genius that enthralled the sell -out crowd. Hanna is currently starring in, Fire of Dance, a performance that is selling out shows in Europe.
Other performers included Jim Hibbard, Anthony Peters and Cheryl Johnson, Van Porter, William Orlowski, Robert Reed, Dianne Walker , Dr. Jeni Legon and Dr. Jimmy Slyde.The combined talent of this group represents the Hall of Fame of tap dance and aroused audience acclaim and respect that this art form so richly deserves.
A special word of gratitude belongs to the tireless workers and volunteers at the Vancouver Tap Dance Society for arranging the Masters of Tap. For all concerned, it was clearly a labor of love and dance afficionados can only hope that tap dance becomes a more frequent visitor to our stages.
© 02, Ross Michael Pink