Studio to Stage: Tap's Best Are a Classroom Away

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Cartier Williams and John Manzani in The Dark Tunnel. Photo by Amanda Gentile, Courtesy ATDF

Claudia Rahardjanoto, by Amanda GentileAmerican Tap Dance Foundation presented two performances last week—a retrospective production celebrating tap cabarets of the 1930s, and an all new show, with works by current tap greats. Highlights of the contemporary performance included Cartier Williams’ soulful trio The Dark Tunnel, Michelle Dorrance’s work in progress, We Came Here To Do One Thing, and Kazu Kumagai’s Far Away from Home, a beautiful homage to Kumagai’s hometown of Tohoku, Japan, set to shifting images of the community. The evening had a rather solemn tone—program notes described themes of self-reflection, insecurity, loss, devastation, and separation—though Max Pollak’s Rumba Tap works provided a much needed upbeat interlude.


Nicholas Young and Lynn Schwab, by Amanda Gentile



One of the best moments of the evening, however, wasn’t part of the show at all: The realization that the choreographers and most of the performers are also teachers. They’re not simply the best-of-the-best stuck on a proscenium stage, they’re accessible and generous educators, leading weekly classes throughout New York City and workshops worldwide.







From top: Cartier Williams and John Manzani. You can find Williams on the faculty of Tap City this July.

Claudia Rahardjanoto in Lynn Schwab’s To Strive, To Seek, To Find On a Clear Day. Rahardjanoto teaches weekly classes at ATDF and Steps.

Nicholas Young and Lynn Schwab with Max Pollak’s Rumba Tap. Pollak will be leading a master class at Broadway Dance Center April 6.

All photos by Amanda Gentile, Courtesy ATDF.