LA Tap Festival All Star Concert
By Jim Taylor
Los Angeles / August, 2010
The year’s performance was held August 14th on the brand new concert stage at the L. A. Performing Arts High School in downtown Los Angeles. Thanks to Paul Reich, master carpenter, the rich, resounding, raised wooden floor made it the perfect venue for a tap concert! After a brief introduction, the show got off to a solid start with Jason and Chloe dancing a duet with trades that set a very high standard for the evening.
Next, Sarah Reich’s intermediate repertory class gave us a hearty dose of “feel good, all over” with their enthusiasm at dancing a mix of classic and rhythm tap. Up next, Jason Janas spanked the boards, displaying his energetic lick and tricks. Nico Rubio gave us some thoroughly enjoyable moments as he dedicated his beginner piece to Dr. Bunny Briggs, cleverly adding his offstage tapping to represent what would have been Dr. Briggs’ solo section. Rubio is a talented and smooth jazz tap dancer with clear and crisp sounds who glides across the floor as if on ice. Jumagne Taylor presented a lively Latin number from his advanced class and then soloist Ivory Wheeler took the stage. Mr. Wheeler created a dreamlike atmosphere with his moves and flowing attire, tapping to a vocal of Duke Ellington’s famous “David Danced”. The last tap number in the first act was an advanced piece brilliantly choreographed by Chloe Arnold. Great style, super staging and clear rhythms gave the class a chance to show their wares. Josie May choreographed the final pieces with her joyful Lindy Hop class, followed by a swing quartet of athletic pros, dancing, jumping, flipping and jivin’ their hearts out!
Sarah Reich presented her new tap company, Tap Con Sabor, as the second act opener. The use of vivid body language and open rhythms were a delight to the senses. Melinda Sullivan, a true Diva of S.Y.T.Y.C.D. fame, enthralled the onlookers with her beauty, subtle sensuality, amazing feet and solid connection with drummer/tap dancer, Channing Cook Holmes. Chloe Arnold’s choreographic brilliance left the audience breathless after her steaming Latin piece, using five brilliant couples to the absolute best of their abilities…definitely a highlight of the evening. Miriam Nelson was called to the stage to receive the Leonard Reed Longevity Award and Chester Whitmore was presented the Gregory Hines Humanitarian Award. Next, Chloe Arnold captivated the audience with her brilliance as she demonstrated her diverse artistic abilities, particularly in the use of shading using both her feminine and masculine sides. Then, Jason’s’ A.C.G.I. quartet displayed perfect precision and technique to die for. Next, Jason proceeded to propel his innovative abilities to a jaw-dropping level, using humor mixed with an element of danger that defies description. Then L.A.’s own Arthur Duncan performed. Arthur’s loving presence and uplifting performance are always endearing. Jason joined him for their tongue in cheek challenge and a show stopping duet. The cast was called to the stage for the Shim Sham finale and the curtain fell on yet another exciting and memorable performance!