Concert series finale Friday
Attendees of the upcoming performance of “Tap the Show” at the Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center Friday at 8 p.m. may just be expecting tap dancing routines reminiscent of what they’ve seen from classic musicals.
Those individuals will be in for a surprise.
“We get to start out with the old, traditional — what most people think of when they think of tap dance — ‘Forty-Second Street’ — and then we cross over into ‘Singing in the Rain’ and the old tap dance movie musical that people know really well,” said Maria Logan, featured vocalist and tapper.
“But then we get to take them through things that they might not necessarily think of as tap dance or rhythm dance — which include an African tribal number and an Irish step dance, as well as flamenco. And then we end up with the genre of tap dance that most of us study currently as well as what our primary choreographer’s forte is, which is rhythm tap or ‘hoofing.’”
Yet, those coming out for this performance, which is being presented by the Henderson Community Concert Association, need not necessarily be interested in tap to enjoy this production.
“Even if you’re not a fan of tap dance, you’re going to love this show musically,” said writer and director Scott Seidl.
“I would like to consider it just a celebration of what tap dance is, which is physicality and musicality working together,” said Logan.
She, along with a male vocalist, Soren Wohlers, and eight tappers, will progress through a succession of routines and costume changes, adding up to a two-act performance clocking in at around 95 minutes (not including a 15-minute intermission). But improvised segments will cause that number to vary.
Back when the show was arranged in April of 2010, it only lasted about 30 minutes. When the production was expanded this past fall, Seidl encouraged some of the cast members to add in choreography.
“That was a really special way that we all felt like we could contribute and make the show more diverse,” said Logan.
That diversity comes front and center in the middle of Act 2 — a tribute to some of the more well-known tappers which eventually turns into a series improvisational performances, with each dancer getting a turn.
“Essentially they say ‘Back in the day, and even still today, great tap dancers like to get together and trade steps and kind of outdo each other,’” said Seidl.
That’s when it almost turns into a competition.
“Aaron Parkhurst is the dance captain for the show and probably one of the top 100 tap dancers in the world. He doesn’t know it yet, which is great for us. He does his solo and right after him, a woman named Sarah Mangold comes out and almost without fail, whatever the last step Aaron does in his solo is, Sara will start her solo with that step, going ‘Eh, that ain’t so hard.’”
Produced by Matt Davenport Productions in Nashville, Tenn., the idea for a tap show came to him in the middle of the night about five to six years ago.
“I actually started out in the business as a drummer, as a percussionist, and also an amateur tap dancer,” Seidl said. “And so I’ve always had an appreciation for the art form and I think that combined with my background as a percussionist has always lent me to want to do a show like this.”
When explaining how a performer wins over an audience member that isn’t a fan of a particular art form, Seidl referenced a famous tapper, who also played drums, Sammy Davis Jr.
“He was quoted in an interview as saying ‘They don’t always have to like what you do, but they should always like how you do it,’” Seidl said, “which is such a great quote and really something that when I was a performer, and even now as a writer and director, I try and always have that tucked away in the back of my mind.”
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