Foot Music

The members of Dorrance Dance company are human music machines, taking tap dancing to new levels of artistry, athletics and musicality. Drawing on a deep understanding of the history of tap and injecting a fresh, hip new approach, Michelle Dorrance and her collaborators are creating something new and exciting, bringing together dancers, musicians, dancer/musicians and musician/dancers. Basically, tap is “body music” combined with dance, with the emphasis on feet, and this group has got it down. They add some elements of break dancing, tap on boards with triggers that play electronic sounds, use dramatic lighting and play great music on “traditional” instruments. They are known for residencies spreading the gospel of tap and spent 4 days in Santa Barbara doing just that. Nicholas Van Young demonstrated “body music,” using his whole body, for dance students at Santa Barbara High School. Some big time sweat was worked up in the studio of the Dance Network as Michelle and Nicholas led an intensive class for community members demonstrating many of the finer points of various styles of tap, from the buck and wing to slides. A full-blown evening performance of excerpts from 2 signature pieces at the Granada Theatre was followed the next day by a shorter one for elementary school children at the same venue.