Dance in Review

For those who may have missed this one time show on December 10th, The return of Tidings of Tap, was filled with joy and the love of dance for the 2017 Holiday Season for families, friends and tap lovers of all ages.  Celebrating their 15th Anniversary, Chicago Tap Theatre presents this tapping extravaganza celebrating Chanukah/Christmas and the winter season, performing with a live band directed by Kurt Schweitz. To help celebrate their 15th Anniversary, Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) is being challenged by The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, to raise and match funds, to support CTT’s mission in producing high quality and innovative tap dance performances and expanding the art form of tap.

The North Shore Center for Performing Arts in Skokie, was the perfect intimate location for this anniversary holiday extravaganza, giving all audience members a perfect view of the dancers, and more importantly their feet. Highlighted throughout the show, the sound of the tappers helped to create and compliment the holiday music featured.  Tidings of Tap includes a syncopated “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” medley during the Carols number, flicks of flame for Candlelight, anger and frustration for our shoppers during Black Friday and even featuring musical stylings from Artistic Director, Mark Yonally and the live band in, Rest Ye, Man. Besides Yonally, the very talented dancing troupe includes Kirsten Ittich, Jennifer Yonally, Aimee Chause, Isacc Stauffer, Sara Anderson, Sarah Owens, Anabel Watson, Bailey Caves, Chris Matthews, Emily Broeker and Dasha Merkulov.

Tidings of Tap, is a fantastic holiday show, that will keep you smiling from beginning to the Shim Sham end, where all tappers from the audience of all ages are encouraged to join the performers on stage for their final dance of the night.  An inspirational show for the season, for new dancers and to reignite the passion of dancers who continue to shuffle in their seats, Tidings of Tap really does bring in the happiest tidings of the season.

For more information on Chicago Tap Theatre including upcoming events, visit www.chicagotaptheatre.com.

 

Published in Dance in Review

As Chicago Tap Theatre embarks upon their mission to “Shuffle off to Europe” where they will join tap dance companies Tapage and Tap Olé in their home countries to perform Liason, the talented outfit impresses upon its audience yet another fantastic production in its third remount of Changes, a sci-fi adventure set to the music of the late, great David Bowie. In reverence to 1940’s science fiction, seemingly with pages from the old Flash Gordon serials put in play, we get a nasty trio of futuristic villains who have made captive a host of dreamy angels, crippling each by removing their wings, and a hero who must set them free and may only be able to do so by teaching the imprisoned seraphs to fight back (via a tap dance-off, of course).


Artistic Director Mark Yonally’s creative vision is what makes this production such an amazing spectacle. It is visually compelling, thanks to the costume design by Emma Cullimore and its punch-packing choreography, and musically fulfilling as the music chosen behind each dance routine is wisely chosen by Music Director Kurt Schweitz to provide much impact. Kristen Uttich, well cast as the show’s hero, Jennifer Pfaff Yonally as the lead Alliange and Mark Yonally as Altego with Aimee Chase and Heather Latakas as his Henchpeople, lead a gifted ensemble in what turns out to be a pretty engaging story of good versus evil filled with touching moments of beauty, soul and hope and thrilling climaxes when powerful confrontation erupts.


Changes includes many Bowie favorites that are accompanied on strings by Molly Rife and violinist Anna Gillan, who oversee the dancers at the rear of the stage. “Life on Mars” opens the show followed by “Starman” and “Space Oddity” setting the tone for this energetic production that comes with many “wow” moments. Much of Bowie’s music is set to a house mix adding extra thump and larger-than-life tempo, of which I have to wonder was necessary, as opposed to playing the songs in their original recorded versions, my guess being the extra boost provided a clearer pocket for the dancers to perform within or perhaps may have been needed to hear the songs distinctly above the often-thunderous flurry of tap dancing. A feast for Bowie fans, the production also comprises such hits as “Under Pressure” “Changes”, “Ziggy Stardust” and other faves that will have you poking through Spotify to relive the production's many great moments upon exiting the theatre.


Chicago Tap Theatre keeps this commanding form of dance alive, and even in bloom, with one fantastic production after another, Changes being no exception. Thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end, Changes has the perfect combination of dance, music and visuals to make this retro-sci-fi rocket take off.


Changes is being performed at Stage 773 through July 16th. For tickets and/or more show information, or to find out how you can help get this talented dance company to Europe, visit ChicagoTapTheatre.com.

Published in Dance in Review

 

 

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