Incredible Tap Jam Marks 21st Anniversary Of National Tap Dance Day
May 26th, 2010 No Comments »
We here at Jazzville love any occasion to celebrate. So what better way to observe National Tap Dance Day than to have a Tap Jam at Skippers? Hosted by Yvette Glover, mother of famed tapper, Savion Glover, last night’s festivities honored American tap legend Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, whose birthday was chosen for the holiday. Best known for dancing with Shirley Temple in several 1930s films, Mr. Bojangles has since inspired many generations to take the stage and show off their own skills.
Those in attendance yesterday were treated to an explosive set. Young Frankie Clemente opened the night with a lightning-quick routine, so fast even the musicians had trouble keeping up. Then there was Justin Ballasy who made jaws drop and hearts pound with his powerful strides. An acoustic performance by Lucas Ballasy, Justin’s brother, further thrilled the audience with a mellow rendition of “This Love.”
Newcomer Ron Freund gave a charming performance, singing “Night and Day” and dancing at intervals in a laidback, poignant style. Kyle Wilder and Hillary-Marie Michael traded in a duet, Wilder’s charismatic gestures and Michael’s signature twirls enhancing the feel-good spirit of the piece. Jeffry Foote’s nimble movements stunned the crowd. Not to be outdone by the younger tappers though, veteran David Gilmore brought grace and sophistication to the stage, and more importantly, everyone to their feet.
There were many more collaborations as the night went on, each one more dazzling than the last. But what was even more exciting was sitting side-by-side with famous poet, playwright, and activist, Amiri Baraka as the action unfolded. Both the former poet laureate and his wife Amina are great supporters of the Newark jazz scene.
For those who couldn’t be there, you missed quite the show. It was truly amazing to watch these performers in their element and witness stars in the making.