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They're Tapping Into Something

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 25, 2006 1:07PM

Tap dance is so hot right now. Any moment now we’re expecting a press release from the Department of Cultural Affairs announcing Chicago Tap Dance Month. When two tap shows are concurrently grabbing headlines and selling briskly, it’s the next logical, uh, step.

imaginetap.jpgAt the Harris Theater, Imagine Tap!, incorporates jazz, hip hop, latin beats, spritual music, breakdancing, turntablism, and of course lots and lots of tap dancing led by a group of supremely accomplished performers dubbed “sixteen of the world’s greatest tappers.” That’s a mighty impressive claim and, quite frankly, one with which we’re not qualified to argue. Collectively this cast has performed with and learned from some very big fish: Debbie Allen, Michael Jackson, and Savion Glover, among others. Director Derick K. Grant (pictured, right) recreated Glover’s choreography for a Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk National Tour, so his style may feel familiar even if his name doesn’t ring a bell.

changestapopera.jpgNestled in Athenaeum's Studio 3, Chicago Tap Theatre’s latest outing attracts only a fraction of the audience as that big downtown show, which you can’t help when you perform in a 90-seat space. Changes... tells the rather straightforward story, to a David Bowie soundtrack, of Major Tom’s adventures once he drifted from Ground Control. We found Bowie’s atmospheric rock a surprisingly good choice for CTT’s story, the choreography was strong, and the cast has been performing long enough to have hit their stride. We may never hear Under Pressure the same way again.

Imagine Tap! runs at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 East Randolph, Tuesdays – Sundays through August 6. Tickets are $28-69. More information at

Changes…A Science-Fiction Tap Opera runs at the Athenaeum Theater, 2936 N Southport, Friday – Sunday through July 30. Tickets are $15-25. More information at

Pictures via Lois Greenfield, Great Lakes Dance Productions and Chicago Tap Theatre