Meet RubberLegz, A German Dancer with A Style All His Own

Rauf Yasit, aka "RubberLegz," has a style that defies categorization. He calls it "a mix of flexibility, yoga, contemporary dance and breaking." And we call it jaw-dropping.

Known for contorting his body into seemingly impossible shapes, the German dancer has worked with choreographers like William Forsythe, been a finalist on Switzerland's Got Talent and traveled the world performing on concert stages and streets alike.

The secret to his magic? Perseverance. "I started from zero and wasn't flexible at all," he says. "It took me years to reach this level."

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Jason Samuels Smith, photographed by Jayme Thornton

Moving Forward by Looking Back: A Week at the L.A. Tap Festival Online

I turned to tap at the outset of the European lockdown as a meaningful escape from the anxiety of the pandemic. As a dance historian specialized in dance film, I've seen my fair share of tap on screen, but my own training remains elementary. While sheltering in place, my old hardwood floors beckoned. I wanted to dig deeper in order to better understand tap's origins and how the art form has evolved today. Not so easy to accomplish in France, especially from home.

Enter the L.A. Tap Fest's first online edition.

Alongside 100 other viewers peering out from our respective Zoom windows, I watch a performer tap out rhythms on a board in their living room. Advanced audio settings allow us to hear their feet. In the chat box, valuable resources are being shared and it's common to see questions like, "Can you post the link to that vaudeville book you mentioned?" Greetings and words of gratitude are also exchanged as participants trickle in and out from various times zones across the US and around the world.

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