Chicago Tap TheatrePerformance Art Theatre in Chicago, Illinois
We love getting the chance to interact with our audience and share the stage! Thanks for the shoutout Westchester Community College!
TAP MASTER MONDAY: Our tap master this week is Sammy Davis Jr. Davis started his career at the age of 3 performing with his uncle and father in what would become known as the Will Mastin Trio. Sammy was truly a performers' performer, with the ability to do almost anything he heard or saw somebody do on stage, including playing every instrument group, sing, vocal impressions, juggle, and, most famously, tap dance. In the 1960s he was a seminal part of Frank Sinatra's group the... "Rat Pack", appearing on stage and screen with them. Towards the end of his career he was a featured tap dancer alongside Gregory Hines in the movie Tap and was honored with the Kennedy Center Award, the highest cultural award given in this country. He was an important advocate for the Civil Rights movement and through his courage and talent helped to break racial barriers in the performance industry.
Our artistic director Mark Yonally shares: One of the highlights of my life was seeing Sammy Davis, Jr. on a double bill with Jerry Lewis in Las Vegas about a year before he passed away. I was in my late teens but had grown up seeing Mr. Davis on TV and in films I loved, including Tap. Something that made an impression on me was that when he sang Mr. Bojangles he informed the audience that this song was NOT, in fact, about the late Bill Robinson, but rather an amalgamation based on stories of hundreds of African American Tap Dancers. He was still tap dancing and I remember how poignant his feet were: subtle, clean and supremely rhythmic.
If you are interested in this man and his life check out the amazing autobiography "Yes, I Can". Perhaps the best part is that the book is written in the late-60s hipster slang that Mr. Davis at that point talked in, giving the book a really authentic and engaging voice.
TAP MASTER MONDAY: This week our tap master is William Henry Lane also known as "Master Juba." Master Juba was born in Rhode Island in 1825 and became a minstrel performer. He played both the banjo and tambourine but also was known for his quick footwork and imitation of other dancers during that time. Master Juba had his own dance creation that was a combination of ethnic dance, patting Juba, and the jig and reel. This culmination of rhythm led him to be known as one of the best dancers in American and European history. Master Juba was also the first to receive a higher wage than a white performer in a minstrel show in 1845! Charles Dickens also wrote about Juba in American notes which are the very first notes we have talking about tap dance!
Artistic Director Mark Yonally will be judging next weekend at the Pheasant Run Resort and again in April for Ovation Dance Challenge. Hoping to find some of the best young tap dancers in the area and looking forward to giving out at least one scholarship to the Chicago Tap Theatre Summer Tap Intensive! PC: David Harmantas
TAP MASTER MONDAY: This week our tap master is James “Buster” Brown who was born in Baltimore, MD in 1913. Brown found his passion for show business by watching Albert “Pops” Whitman in the Tap and acrobatic show, Pops and Louie. In high school he was a part of a dance trio originally named The Three Aces but renamed themselves the Speed Kings after graduating due to the speed and precision of their dancing. After one member of the trio died tragically in a drowning accident,... Brown created a new group called Speed Kings 2 who were known for their soft shoe style tapping along with complicated rhythms. By the 1960s, Brown had joined the Hoofers in Harlem and performed in tap jams. Buster Brown is the rare dancer whose work has become part of the dance canon. His delightfully rhythmic (and paddle and roll-tastic) dance Laura has become a standard in the tap dance world, known and performed by thousands of tap dancers all over the world.
Artistic Director Mark Yonally was lucky enough to take a week-long class with Buster at the Portland Tap Festival, where Mark learned that the rhythm was the thing for Buster, not the steps. He has memories of the combo changing a little bit almost every time, step-wise, while the rhythm remained immutable. His final memory of Buster was seeing him perform in Foot Notes with Savion Glover, Dianne Walker, Jimmy Slyde and an impossibly young (and already crazy-talented) Cartier Williams. #chicagotaptheatre #tapdance
Have you gotten your 2-show pass yet?? This is the absolute best deal as well as getting the best seats for both Sweet Tap Chicago and Tapped for the Very First Time! Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity only available till February 10th #chicagotaptheatre #tapdance
Artistic Director Mark Yonally and Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) presents Sweet Tap Chicago Sunday, March 11 at 3 and 7 p.m. at The City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St. Sweet Tap Chicago is a celebration of Chicago musicians and music, with all new arrangements by Kurt Schweitz, a live jazz quintet featuring rapper/singer/host Taylor Mallory and JC Brooks and tap dancing. Musicians and bands to be covered include Common, Smashing Pumpkins, Muddy Waters, Ministry and more. In addit...ion to the Sweet Tap Chicago music, Brooks will share a sneak peak performance of the June CTT engagement, giving the audience a taste of the company’s Tapped for the Very First Time – a celebration of the music of Madonna, June 23 and 29 at the Athenaeum Theatre. Doors will open one hour prior to start time and the running time of the performance is one hour and ten minutes with no intermission. Tickets are $40 for reserved admission seating and may be purchased at www.citywinerychicago.boxoffice-tickets.com. By calling 800-440-8539 or at the door. Group discounts are also available for groups of 10 or more.
TAP MASTER MONDAY: Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates was born in South Carolina and started dancing when he was 5 years old. He lost his left-leg in a cotton-seed gin mill but never lost his drive to be as good as the two-legged dancer. He developed a professional tap dancing career through vaudeville, minstrel, and carnival shows and serves as an inspiration to this day for all types of dancers! #chicagotaptheatre #tapdance
TAP MASTER MONDAY: This week we are featuring Vera-Ellen! Vera-Ellen was born in 1921 and had a thriving acting and dancing career. Some of of her most well known roles were in On the Town and White Christmas. She was also one of the younger women to be chosen as a Rockette especially only being 5’4”. Come back next week to hear about our next master #tapdance #chicagotaptheatre
It’s official our PRESALE link for Sweet Tap Chicago is live from now until this Thursday at noon CT. Follow this link to access both shows and remember to use code: sweetchitap http://www.citywinery.com/chicago/catalogsearch/result/… City Winery Chicago