Chapel Off Chapel
Australian Tap Dance Festival
Rhythm in abundance.
The setting was Chapel Off Chapel on the last day in September.
It was brought to life with a joyful celebration of moving feet, some finger clicking, the sporadic uttered vocal outburst and music.
The occasion was the culmination of the week-long 2023 Australian Tap Dance Festival.
It saw back-to-back tap-dancing shows at the venue after a series of week-long residencies.
A residency is a 90-minute class for five consecutive days.
Rhythm of the Sole (clever title) was followed by A Tap Dance Experience.
The first involved students of the art form – from littlies to seniors – and the other primarily the principals/teachers in a series of acts.
In short, they had perfected their routines in only a few days and that, in itself, is quite some achievement.
Each show ran for roughly an hour and both were hosted by the highly experienced and charismatic Eden Read, performer, director and choreographer. The second featured a talented four-piece band.
They highlighted raw talent as well as highly accomplished exponents of tap. In terms of the latter, I speak of some of the best of the best, from shows such as Tap Pack, Hot Shoe Shuffle, Tap Dogs and 42nd Street.
Regardless of age or experience, there was collegiality – bucket loads of it.
I got the impression that I was seeing one large, happy extended family, one that delights in the magic of tap in its various guises.
From body percussion to the theatrical and stylised, we saw it all.
There were appearances from Christopher Horsey, who rose to fame in the early ‘90s as an original cast member of Hot Shoe Shuffle.
Alongside him was his friend and sometime collaborator, internationally acclaimed Adam Garcia.
The guest of honour was one of the hottest dancers on the planet, American Anthony Morigerato.
The Emmy-nominated choreographer stunned with two special, lengthy, evocative pieces of tap, the second a nod to his father who would have turned 90 this week.
During the week, he had also conducted a masterclass for other teachers and their collaborative routine was sublime.
In truth, the shows contained many toe-tapping highlights.
Tap is, indeed, an experience to be savoured. At its best, it is life-affirming and triumphant.
Bring on the 2024 Australian Tap Dance Festival.
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