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We need these figures who don’t exactly go against the grain but create a new grain.
– Savion Glover
There’s no dancer alive better than those of the 1950s and 1960s. It’s only the energy that changes. Every now and then, someone like me comes along, and people say, ‘Oh, this guy is this new thing.’ But that’s not so. There is no me without them. The tradition just goes on.
I actually wanted to be a fireman when I was younger.
I was first introduced to dancing through the TV: I remember watching ballet, jazz and ballroom dancing when I was very little. But I felt no connection with it whatsoever: it was just like watching a Tom and Jerry cartoon.
My mom always had me and my brother watching old Fred Astaire movies.
I used to think I had this responsibility to carry on this tradition. Now I just feel like I have to keep the dance out there, keep it in the public eye.
I search for different tonalities in my taps. But my greatest pleasure is hearing a note I haven’t heard before, hearing a chord that sparks something new.
Frank Sinatra changed people’s approach to singing. Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, van Gogh, they were all part of movements that allowed people to think about their craft differently. They changed the game. These people changed the game.
What we’re looking for at my school is intellectuals. People who want to talk about the art and be knowledgeable about it. People who want to know the history. Not everybody needs to be performing.
Great athletes last because they let the mental do all the work. What we do as hoofers is not so much a physical strain as everybody thinks. It’s more of a mental stretch.
I try to convey the musical notes through dance, take on the music.
I want tap to be something danced in arenas. Sort of like a rock group. Other art forms happen every night. Take theater, opera; there’s always opera happening every night.
My style is raw; my style is ’95. My style is what I live. My style is my story.
Just like a comedian has a certain joke or a jazz musician has a riff that they know will get the crowd, a tap dancer always has a step.
Whether it is Jimmy Slyde or Lon Chaney or Gregory Hines, their dance shows what they experienced, what they had to go through.
Movie making is such a long process, and they only use that one take, although you do it over and over about 30 times. Live theatre is that one time and one time only.
It wasn’t until I did a musical revue in Paris in the 1980s called ‘Black and Blue,’ and met the great men and women responsible for the progress of tap dance, that my relationship with the dance really began.
For me, the importance in learning about the dance is using it as a voice. It’s not about a step, it’s about a way to express oneself.
What I’m trying to do is bring young people into doing tap so that the art form will keep going.
There’s a tendency to think tap’s had its day, but ‘Happy Feet’ kept us in the race. That penguin is our Shirley Temple.
I’m a basketball freak.
I’ve changed my whole angle for dance. I’m moving towards moving back rather than hanging out with my peers. I’m reaching back to older dudes for a second.
I started as a drummer. The feet are an extension of that.
I’m committed to the purity of my art form.
I want to share what I have, and I’d rather share it with people that are a little bit more open-minded.
When I wake up in the morning, I just go.
The sound of tap is not ‘clickety clickety tap tap,’ this monotone thing. The sound of tap has depth. We want you to hear the different highs and lows, the bass, the trebles and the melodies, if you can.
Every now and then, someone comes along – we used to call it ‘New Jack’ – tries to do something new, tries to take all the credit, without acknowledging the past.
I’m inspired by breath, by the human body – by so many things.
There’s a whole new generation who know about tap dancing thanks to ‘Happy Feet.’