Shuffle, ball, change. Aaaaaand, dig! Those are the only tap dance words that stuck with me from the beginner adult class I took last fall. Turns out, you need rhythm to tap, and I've got zero. But it just looks so darn fun when dancers fly around the stage creating music with their toes. It's the stuff of old films, Broadway musicals, and street performance; tap dance is captivating and exhilarating. This is why we're anticipating a full house for this weekend's Rhythmic Souls show, Legends Never Die, a romp through some of tap dance's unforgettable moves and an homage to the greats.
"[Tap dance] was such an integral part of the entertainment industry that it was only natural for it to be featured with the appearance of the film and the movie musical," says Katelyn Harris, co-founder of Rhythmic Souls. "And I do think a renaissance of the 1920's-1940's Hollywood glamour is on its way."
The show runs for just two days at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre, with performances at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It features work that resembles the greats, like Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers and Bill Robinson.
Like much of the work of the young company, this show is about Harris and company giving audiences a chance to fall in love with an art form that is mostly forgotten. As dance companies feel the shifting pressures of the entertainment industry, with kids and adults forgoing live performance for video games and social media, tap dance is often completely forgotten. But for Harris, it's the most engaging of all forms of dance, because it's about making movement and music. And she's quick to offer a glimpse into the art form's history, which almost purely American.
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"Tap dance has been through so many interesting transitions in its roughly 200 years of existence," Harris says. "It began around the mid-1800's with step dancers who would compete for money on the streets, then moved to the stage in Minstrel and Vaudeville Shows."
Then, it became the stuff of legends, which is exactly where this show comes in. To get a flavor of this weekend, we asked Harris to point us toward her favorite video clip that features tap dance legends. She picked a classic scene from Singin' in the Rain, featuring Gene Kelly and Donald O' Connor.
Tickets to Legends Never Die are $15.00; $10.00 for children 12 or under and available online.