This March we are thrilled to be having the American Tap Dance Foundation with us at the 14th Street Y Theater. They are bringing two exciting shows on March 19 to the 24th. The first is called Rhythm is our Business and the second is Rhythm in Motion. Here to give us a run down of the foundation and what to expect at the Y is the director and creator himself, Tony Waag.
Tell us a little bit about the tap dancing programs. How did it get started? How did you get involved?
I was fortunate enough to meet Brenda Bufalino in my home town Fort Collins Colorado in 1976. She was brought there by the dance department at Colorado State University to perform, lecture and teach, along with two other tap dance legends the late Charles “Cookie” Cook and the late Leslie “Bubba” Gaines. I had only dabbled in tap dance in High School and wanted to check it out. I remember being awestuck by all three performers. These artists were there to share with us the rich history of tap dance and also, the current state of an art form, an American art form. I remember being floored that Tap Dance had not been recognized as such, and practically dismissed for nearly 20 years!
From that experience on, I planned on becoming a tap dancer. I visited New York City twice shortly afterwards, and then eventually moved here to reestablish that initial connection. Ironically, I literally ran into Brenda on the street the first week I moved to the big apple. We then started what has become a 37 year pupil/ mentor relationship.
Why these two productions at the 14th street Y? What makes them exciting works?
These two productions combined celebrate the art of Tap Dance and expand and challenge the limited perception that tap dance is considered either too old-fashioned or too commercial to be taken very seriously. There are many different styles of tap dance today, all valid, and all incredibly interesting, complex and diverse. Most people today have no idea that tap dance is actually practiced, presented and perfected all over the world. With these shows we celebrate and honor our past and then present the future of tap! A future that is exciting, fascinating and full of variety.
What excites you about bringing the American Tap Dance Foundation to the 14th street Y Theater?
The 14th Street Y is in the middle of Manhattan, and I live on 14th street. There are many good reasons, the staff is friendly and supportive, and the space is intimate and flexible. It’s a great venue for dance presentation. We hope this is just the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership!
How can we learn more?
Feel free to visit our website at http://atdf.org/
Click here for info about Rhythm is our Business.
Click here for info about Rhythm in Motion.