It is 10:15 pm and I am trying to type this in rhythm. That is what a night of superb performances and great tap will do to you – it makes me wish that I was singing in the rain while remembering that anything can go.
Dance lovers in Minneapolis and St. Paul have been undoubtably spoiled this year—first with Ordway’s rendition of 42nd Street and now with the 5th incarnation of the Twin Cities Tap Festival. This multi-day extravaganza includes the 2019 showcase (17th), the 2019 concert/review (18th), as well as Dorrance Dance (19th) and a range of tap lessons/other events all weekend long (including a foot health clinic for dancers and a cutting board live music and tap jam -- more details here). If you (sadly) missed the first two nights of performances, the rest of the weekend promises to deliver a bang, or at least a metallic tap.
The 2019 concert was excellent and delivered a lovely combination of solo, small group, and large group numbers. Large group acts such as Elite Tap Feet and Kaleena Miller Dance showcased the dramatic effect perfect physical synchronization can have when it is combined with sound. The group Melanized proved that dance can be more than stellar choreography and can connect with current events. Individual numbers displayed a range of talent -- beat-boxing and tapping Briane Ali, precise and crisp Sarah Reich, heartfelt Jeannie Hill, and posed Evan Ruggeiero argued persuasively that there is so much life left in tap. Tap need not be consigned to history, the dancers’ every action argues; tap is alive and vibrant as ever.
My favorite parts of the evening were the smaller acts, often consisting of 2 to 3 people. Rhythm Street Movement, who started the evening off in their flashy yellow and black garb, passed their rhythms back and forth to one another like a ball. Likewise, the late duet between Sarah Reich and Jeannie Hill reminded me of the key rule of improv: whenever your partner gives you some information, you are supposed to respond to your partner, “Yes, AND.” It is the acceptance of the first gesture and the willingness to offer more that sparks collaboration and creation.
This evening there were truly were too many acts and dancers to call out all individually--any who aren't mentioned here reflects more on me as a writer than on them as dancers. Well-conceived, beautifully lit, and expertly mic’d, this was a truly pleasurable night of dance. The rest of the weekend promises to be lovely as well, so enjoy this seasonable? fall weather and venture out into downtown Minneapolis for the last few days of the 2019 Twin Cities Tap Festival.