Cover Story
Jayme Thornton

When Michelle Dorrance put on her first show as Dorrance Dance in 2011, in a shared evening with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, a charismatic teenager was featured in both choreographers' works. Critic Gia Kourlas described Caleb Teicher in The New York Times as "a sleek dancer who possesses a beguiling combination of a relaxed upper body with switchblade feet." His appearance won him a Bessie for Outstanding Individual Performance.

The day after the award ceremony, he was back in class—ballet class. His growing reputation as a hot young tap dancer was making Teicher nervous that he would find himself pigeonholed before he had time to explore other options. So, he aggressively pursued anything that would let him be "not a tap dancer."

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Breaking Stereotypes
Leticia Jay (back left) and dancers at one of her Tap Happenings. Photo courtesy Jane Goldberg's Changing Times Tap archive

Writing in Dance Magazine in 1969 about Tap Happenings, those weekly tap dance jams at the Bert Wheeler Theater in New York City, critic Patrick O'Connor commented on dancers Sandra Gibson and Leticia Jay, the two sole female performers: "Gibson, the first of the red hot 'soul' mamas does a number, as does Leticia Jay, but face it, the evening belongs to the men."

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Popular
Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuels Smith and Derick K. Grant take the floor during our cover shoot.

In 1989, Congress passed a resolution naming May 25—the birthday of tap legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson—as National Tap Dance Day, and it has been celebrated annually on that date ever since. For years, the May issue of Dance Magazine featured a tap dancer on its cover to coincide with the holiday and highlight the form.

But some considered the gesture to be mere tokenism. "It feels like a handout," says tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith. "Our art form deserves more than that."

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Career Advice
Zoe Scofield regrets not owning her history. Photo by Jonathan Hsu, Courtesy zoe | juniper

Overnight success doesn't happen often in the dance world. Mistakes, regrets and on-the-job realizations are simply part of the process. Four accomplished choreographers share what they had to figure out along the way.

Pam Tanowitz: It's all about the editing.

Photo by Brad Paris, Courtesy Tanowitz

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Popular
Jacquelin Harris. Photo by Andrew Eccles, Courtesy Ailey

The 2017 Princess Grace Award winners have just been announced! Over the years, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA has demonstrated a knack for picking out future stars in the dance world, so it should be no surprise that several of the honorees are familiar names.

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