Foot and Fiddle

October 22, 2000

Pat Cannon’s Foot & Fiddle Dance Co. in Barn Dance.
Photo by Will Landin

Pat Cannon Foot & Fiddle Dance Company

Cultural Arts Center, SUNY Rockland
Suffern, New York

October 22, 2000

Reviewed by Marilyn Hunt

Percussive dancing is what Foot & Filddle is all about, but the dancers seem most at ease in down-home American clogging. Their good-natured energy and sense of weight were very appropriate to the style. Director Pat Cannon, in her brief commentary, related all the dances to tap dancing�s family tree.

The four smoothly rehearsed couples wore a variety of cheery costumes. But, although Cannon clearly worked hard to give the program variety, the dancers� use of the same all-purpose shoes for tapping and clogging gave the dances a certain similarity of feel. Percussive footwork characterized all the dances, including lindy hop, rock and roll, and sword dancing.

Especially outstanding were the four musicians, notably the piano player and singer, Dave Keyes. The music was pleasingly traditional.

The opening hoedown set the tone, with the men in red neckerchiefs. An Irish clogging number demonstrated, by contrast, the signature vertical body and straight arms of this style; the dancers were not too stiff, rather conveying pride through their carriage.

Turning to black influence, a tap number, Choo Choo Ch�Boogie, had plenty of syncopation, relaxed upper body, use of arms and hands to point up the movements, and a get-down feel.

The dancers moved right along into rock, then ended the first section with a lindy hop choreographed by pioneer Frankie Manning, performed in a willing but workman like manner.Contrasts were added by an English double-handled sword dance, in an appropriately subdued mood; Christopher Kenney�s fine Irish Reel solo; a Cajun number; and a men�s South African gumboot dance.

A highlight was Tap�appella, which, despite its name, looked closer to clogging, and very well done, too. Swings of the leg to turn the body, body claps, a choo-choo line, and leg circles to the back exemplified the peppy American style.

In the finale of the program, with a bit of everything, the eight dancers each took a solo turn showing off some special tricks. A fine time was had by all.