One Step at a Time | Tapestry Dance Company | The Long Center for the Performing Arts

One Step at a Time — A Personal Journey of Rhythm, Emotion, and Present Grace

In honor of their season opener, One Step at a Time—A Journey Toward Present Grace, Tapestry Dance Company’s Artistic Director Acia Gray gives us some insight on the power of rhythm and emotion, and the personal journey of the American Dream.

Many people don’t realize that Austin is the home of the only full-time, professional repertory tap company in the world! Not only that, but Tapestry Dance Company is one of the oldest arts organizations in the city, and a proud Resident Company of the Long Center. Just recently, the Company has been honored to be one of 17 artists chosen for the International Performing Arts for Youth Conference in Madison, WI—one out of 170 applicants worldwide!

People also don’t really realize what we actually do until they see and hear a performance. Tap dance has a historical “entertainment” connotation. Not to say that tap dance CAN’T be entertaining and fun, but most don’t think of this art form as intricate, rhythmic, melodic and emotional.

The emotional quality of rhythm tap is what drives most of Tapestry’s full length performances, such as our premiere of “Passing it Forward – The American Dream?” that opened at the Long Center this past spring. This critically-acclaimed concert took the viewer and listener on a journey of the origins and voices of all types of Americans; each with their own unique perspective of our society, their life, and our current political atmosphere. It takes all of us to keep the American Dream alive.

This next production takes “Passing it Forward” one step further into “One Step at a Time,” opens October 27th and runs through November 6th in the Rollins Studio Theatre. This production includes two new tap dancers and, again, features Austin’s wonderful spoken-word poet Zell Miller III.

Where “Passing It Forward” focused on “I am,” and “I will,” with all of the artists as a look into their cultural and ethnic foundation as Americans, “One Step at a Time” looks at a journey toward present grace. Visions and rhythms of hope.

It’s been such an incredible journey watching these artists share, dare and ream together, and I challenge you, the reader, in the same questions and challenges they faced:

  • List 10 “I am” statements. For instance, “I am an American Indian,” “I have been a victim of abuse,” etc.
  • List 10 “I will” statements. For instance, “I will be present and honest,” “I will treat others with respect,” etc.
  • And last but not least, list 10 “I hope” statements. Things you hope for in your life and the life of all of us as Americans.

Now—how do you feel? Take those feelings and picture them as a personal music and dance concert for an audience. It takes vulnerability, trust, honesty, strength and communication.

That’s what we all need to do to make our American Dream a reality. In time and in rhythm—together—a true American Dream right here in Austin.

Experience the journey together with Once Step at a Time, October 27 – November 6 in Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center.

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