Tapestry Dance Company: Rhythm Tap Dance as Music in ‘Listen’

Beginning next week, March 30, Tapestry Dance Company will present LISTEN – With Ears Wide Open for 10 performances. Here, Executive Artistic Director Acia Gray explains how this piece teaches us to listen to each other through rhythm and the art form’s own special kind of music.

In operating the only full-time professional tap dance company in the world, it seems at times that the prospective audience is not so sure what tap dancing actually is. Since most people have never seen much beyond old black and white movies or musical theatre, it can be a challenge!

Ironically, the recent release of La La Land seemed to have people swarming to tap dance classes even though there wasn’t even any tap dancing in it! Granted, the two stars moved in basic rhythms with their feet but had no connection at all to the steps and technique involved in this beautiful indigenous American art form. It reminded me of times when I’m asked to be a judge for a dance competition and I witness a piece of choreography where the dancers only step around in tap shows but also have no semblance of tap dance itself. Moving in basic rhythmic patterns is dance but not always tap dance. It is also not just the shoes! One can actually tap dance in street shoes and create beautiful rhythms, but the connection to musicality, tone and dynamics is key.

As Tapestry presents our full-length concert works, you can actually categorize these presentations as a music concert! Each soloist or ensemble plays beautiful rhythms and riffs with the advantage of seeing these musical notes rebound through the dancers’ bodies — something that takes a tremendous amount of training and expertise to present. Keep in mind, there’s a reason why the dancers of So You Think You Can Dance are never asked to do a piece of tap dance choreography together if they don’t already tap dance. It’s not that easy!

On the heels of SXSW, we ask those not only interested in dance but also in music to join us for this diverse and playful musical celebration in LISTEN – With Ears Wide Open. Come celebrate Austin’s own tap dance company — the one that dancers from around the world want to join. And we thank Austin for helping us continue into our 28th Season!

Acia Gray
Co-Founder / Executive Artistic Director

Catch the members of Tapestry Dance Company presenting LISTEN – With Ears Wide Open in Rollins Studio Theatre, March 30 – April 9.

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