2011 Soul to Sole Festival
Sam Katz, June 2011
Once again Austin's Soul 2 Sole tap festival was a great success!
The 11th annual festival featured a top notch faculty including Dianne Walker, Acia Gray, Nicholas Young, Barbara Phillips, Matt Shields, Brenna Kuhn, Roxanne Butterfly, Jay Fagan & Travis Knights. The June 8-12 festival began on Wednesday with an evening of fabulous classes & a "Tappy Hour" & jam session with a live jazz trio and it never let up! In addition to a multitude of master classes, there were 5, 2-3 day courses available with Dianne Walker sharing "The Beauty of Leon Collins", Roxanne Butterfly bringing "The Magic of Jimmy Slyde", Nicholas Young serving up "Polyrhythm Play", Acia Gray imparting knowledge & insight on "Music & Improvisation" & Brenna Kuhn passing on several "Shim Sham Variations" which allowed fabulous in depth experiences with the instructors & material. The fun of Jay Fagan, the artistry of Roxanne Butterfly & the style of Travis Knights were great new additions to the festival, while old favorites, Barbara, Acia, Nich, Matt & Brenna & Dianne made it like coming home. Thursday's video night brought a special screening of Roxanne Butterfly's touching tribute to Jimmy Slyde & the premiere of Matt Ryan's insightful documentary short "A Vision in Rhythm", which followed the creation of Tapestry's Spring 2011 show 'Are you Listening to Me?" Friday night's "Souls of our Feet Showcase" featured wonderful student performances, as well as a special treat--a preview of Acia Gray's "The Souls of our Feet-A Celebration of American Tap Dance", the touring show, with company members; Jacqueline Coleman, Sioban Cook, Kirstin Grbic, Katelyn Harris, Travis Knights, Matt Sheilds, Adriana Ray, Tanya Rivard & thomas Wadelton, which is now scheduled for a 5 week tour of China in the Fall!! Congratulations to Acia & company on THAT feather in their caps! Saturday night's faculty concert, "Friends in Time" was was a pleasure that began with Acia Gray's lovely "All Blues Play" & included the spectacular stylings of Travis Knights' in "Everything in its Right Place/Stompin' at the Savoy". Brenna Kuhn was lovely as always in an intimate "But Not for Me" and Matt Sheilds was introspective & dazzling playing with "Round Midnight & Blue Rondo". The vocal stylings of Datri Bean were a nice change of pace & led to a beautiful solo by Barbara Phillips to "Speak Low". A crowd favorite, Austin's own Nicholas Young shared his time on stage with the faculty joining in a trip through the rainforests of Brazil. Jay Fagan's comedy set prior to his solo had the audience in stitches & his "Just in Time/Green Dolphin Street" performance showed he had quite the chops, in addition to the comedy ;) Roxanne Butterfly's "Ryzm Change" was dark & brooding, while Dianne Walker's "On a Clear Day" was light, airy, clean & crystal clear. Sunday's "Sore Feet Breakfast & Faculty Q&A" was a fun & reflective ending to a once again fabulous festival. This festival is such supportive & loving environment with the ambiance set by Acia & her wonderful Soul to Sole volunteers, led by the fabulous Martha Coleman! I can't wait for next year!! Congrats Acia, on another fabulous festival!