Tap City Faculty/Teachers/Performers

Chloe Arnold (Teacher) dancer/actress/director/choreographer was recently featured in Beyonce’s music video “Upgrade You”, the new hit show Imagine Tap, Outkast’s new movie Idlewild, Sean Paul’s music video for the movie Step Up and at Sadlers Wells, London & City Center, NYC in Jason Samuels Smith’s ACGI. Currently co-director of the Los Angeles Tap Festival, Chloe was Associate Choreographer for ABC’s American Celebration, Debbie Allen’s Pearl in Los Angeles, and is choreographer for her group Syncopated Ladies. Performance credits include Debbie Allen’s Brothers of the Knight, Soul Possesed, Sammy (the life and times of Sammy Davis Jr.), Savion Glover’s All Star Tap Revue, Thank You Gregory!, and The Oneness Awards honoring Michael Jackson.Film and television appearances include UPN’s The Parkers, One on One, Nickelodeon’s Brothers Garcia, The Jerry Lewis Telethon (Emmy Award Winning number), Dean Hargrove’s short film Tap Heat, and the AMC documentary Cool Women. Currently on faculty at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in LA, Chloe has taught at the Broadway Dance Center in NYC, P. Diddy’s Summer Youth Program, NYCDA, Brazil, Japan, Germany, and more. Through teaching and performing internationally, Chloe passionately hopes to inspire others. Chloe graduated from Columbia University with a degree in film where she also studied theater, has directed short films and independent music videos, and has produced over 20 shows.

Brandy Blaha (Education Assistant) is currently dancing weekly at the Cotton Club with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, "Sophisticated Lady's". Before moving to New York she received her Bachelor's Degree of Fine Arts in Dance from Wayne State University in Detroit. She is a member of C3 Tap Cooperative as well as Undertoe Dance Project based in New York City. Recent performance credits include the American Tap Dance Foundations "Tap and Song", "On Tap" at Joe's Pub, "Broadway Underground" at BB Kings in Time Square and The 28th Annual Downtown Dance Festival. She has worked with many choreographers such as Jason Samuels Smith, Brenda Bufalino, Michelle Dorrance, Joshua Hilberman and Jared Grimes. Brandy is currently teaching at Creative Arts Studio in Brooklyn, NY and continues to guest teach at studios in the Midwest and tri-state area.

Brenda Bufalino (ATDF Artistic Mentor/Teacher/Performer) is a mixed genre artist; choreographer and tap dancer, a dancer who sings, tells stories, writes books, works clay into shapes that dance, and paints pictures. She has performed her one person shows Internationally and has appeared as a guest soloist at Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center among other major venues. In February 2009, she premiered her latest show “Primordial Memories” at the Judson Church in NYC as part of Tony Waag’s “Sound Check Series.” She mentors, lectures and teaches master classes internationally and teaches many workshop series for the American Tap Dance Foundation in New York City throughout the year. As artistic director/ choreographer of The American Tap Dance Orchestra she toured America and Europe with her company, and appeared at The Joyce Theatre, and on PBS “Great Performances…..Tap Dance in America with Gregory Hines.” For many years Ms. Bufalino collaborated and toured extensively with her mentor Charles “Honi” Coles. She has received consecutive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and is a NYFA fellow. Her critically acclaimed book “Tapping the Source…. tap dance stories, theory and practice” is published by Cod Hill Press. She has created numerous DVD’s and CD’s…. tapping, singing, teaching and telling stories, which are available from her web-site. She is the recipient of the Flobert Award, The Tapestry Award, and The Tap City Hoofers Award, all for outstanding achievement and contributions to the field of tap dance.
www.brendabufalino.com
Photo by Lois Greenfield

Flavia Costa (Performer) is a Brazilian tap dancer and choreographer. For the last ten years, she worked as an aerial acrobat at Intrepida Trupe, a company in Brazil. By the time she lived in NY, she worked with De la Guarda and was also part of Fresh Tracks, by Dance Theater Workshop with Cintia Chamecki in a duo tap called “No More Blues”. Back in Brazil, working as a choreographer and producer, she developed “Volume”, a tap dance show that was performed in different cities around Brazil. Also as a choreographer, Flavia developed a solo piece called “If You Look, the Bitch Bites”; which had its preview at Tap City. Then, she performed it at other festivals in Brazil, such as Rio Cena Contemporânea, Mostra Corpo Coletivo and Tápias Festival, when she won the prize for best independent

choreographer.

Michelle Dorrance (Teacher/Performer) is a New York City based performer, choreographer, teacher and director. A 2012 Princess Grace Award Winner, 2012 Rockefeller Foundation & Mertz Gilmore sponsored Field Dance Fund Recipient, and 2011 Bessie Award Winner, Michelle is the founder and artistic director of Dorrance Dance. She is one of the most sought after tap dancers of her generation and “one of the most imaginative tap choreographers working today” (The New Yorker). Mentored by Gene Medler, Michelle grew up performing with the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble and has since performed with: STOMP, Manhattan Tap, Savion Glover's 'Ti Dii', Barbara Duffy & Co, JazzTap Ensemble, CPD, Tap City on Tour, Ritmico, Rumba Tap, Ayodele Casel’s Diary of a Tap Dancer, Mable Lee’s Dancing Ladies, Harold Cromer’s original Opus One, Derick Grant’s Imagine Tap and Jason Samuels Smith’s Chasing the Bird to rave reviews. A highly sought-after instructor at festivals, universities, conventions and studios throughout the world, Michelle embodies a true passion for teaching and strives to share this passion wherever she goes. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, plays bass for indie-pop star, Darwin Deez, and is on faculty at Broadway Dance Center. For more information please visit: www.michelledorrance.com & www.dorrancedance.com

Photo by: Matthew Murphy and Kenn Tamm

Barbara Duffy (Teacher) is “one of the most inventive tappers around…..”, said the late Gregory Hines. Barbara’s performance highlights include “THE GREGORY HINES SHOW”, where she was a featured dancer, actress and choreographer, “GALA FOR THE PRESIDENT”, performing with Gregory Hines before President and Mrs. Bill Clinton and as dance captain and featured dancer in Brenda Bufalino’s AMERICAN TAP DANCE ORCHESTRA. Barbara performs as a featured soloist across the United States and overseas, including London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, where she was hailed as “a riveting performer” by the Independent. Her all women ensemble, Barbara Duffy & Company has performed at the Duke Theatre, NYC, the Joyce Theater, NYC, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, NYC, the University of Richmond, the Tanz Haus Theatre in Dusseldorf, Germany, Jacob’s Pillow and with Tap City On Tour. A highly sought after teacher, Barbara has taught at numerous workshops and festivals in 20 countries.When not on the road, Barbara teaches classes in New York City at the American Tap Dance Center and Steps On Broadway.” Her greatest inspirations are Brenda Bufalino, the late Leon Collins and the late Gregory Hines.

Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards (Teacher) has been apart of almost every major Tap movie or show that has appeared in the history of tap dance since the 80's. She was nominated for best actress for her starring role in the award-winning Independent film "The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang". In addition to opening the Harlem Tap Studio in NYC, Mrs. Sumbry-Edwards continues to appear as a special guest for shows and festivals around the world. She was also elected to the Advisory Board as the Tap Advisor for Dance Magazine and the official Tap Spokesperson for Capezio along with her family, as well as being featured in their international advertising campaign. Mrs. Sumbry-Edwards was also the private tap instructor to the iconic Michael Jackson over the course of 11 years. Mrs. Sumbry-Edwards career includes acclaimed runs on Broadway and off-Broadway in shows such as Black and Blue, the Tony Award Winning Bring In Da’Noise, Bring In Da’Funk, International Tour of Bring in Da’Noise, Bring in Da’Funk (dance captain/principal dancer/understudy to the lead role), and Imagine Tap! (featured soloist). Other performances include the national tour of Wild Woman Blues and Debbie Allen’s SAMMY (the life and times of Sammy Davis Jr.). Film credits include “TAP” with Gregory Hines, Spike Lee's “Bamboozled” (Assistant Choreographer), and “The Rodgers and Hart Story: Thou Swell, Thou Witty”. Mrs. Sumbry-Edwards’ choreography has been featured in TAAP: The Art & Appreciation of Percussion and was also utilized in Michael Jackson's music video “Rock My World”. She was also spotlighted in a commercial for Tops and was most recently featured on MTV’s hit television series MADE.
Photo by Eduardo Patino

Felipe Galganni (Performer) was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. He has worked choreographing and performing in several Musicals, TV shows, and Movies. Mentored by Heather Cornell (Manhattan Tap) Felipe moved to New York City in the summer of 2010 to further his education in Tap. Since then he has had the honor of working with Tony Waag, Lynn Schwab, Chikako Iwahori, Max Pollak (Rumba Tap), Ray Hesselink, Michelle Dorrance, Alicia Monaco and Claudia Rahardjanoto. He has performed at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Joseph Papp's Public Theater (Joe's Pub), The NY Summer Stage and The Cotton Club. Felipe currently performs regularly on Sundays at LAVO NYC and is on faculty at Steps on Broadway.

Thelma Goldberg (Teacher) is founder and director of The Dance Inn in Lexington, MA, one of New England's largest and most innovative schools, serving 600 students weekly. Combining her love of dance with her experience as a special education teacher in Boston, Thelma created a dance education curriculum that emphasizes musicality, fun, and excellence. She directs the Legacy Dance Company, featuring performers aged 13 – 18 and an adult company, the About Time Tappers. Both ensembles perform an extensive tap and jazz repertoire at regional festivals and charitable events. Thelma is also Executive Director of Dance Inn Productions, a non-profit organization that produces both an annual youth ballroom program as well as New England's National Tap Dance Day celebration. She continues to actively study and pursue new opportunities for herself and her students by participating in festivals and sponsoring workshops with master teachers.
Derick K. Grant (Teacher) is a performer, choreographer, director who has an established career that spans over three decades. Under the direction of Tony Award winning director George C. Wolfe, he was an original company member and Dance Captain for Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk at both The Public Theater and on Broadway and starred in the role of ‘da beat for the first National Tour of Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk. Mr. Grant created the critically acclaimed show Imagine Tap! and was appointed as the Co-Artistic Director of Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World Summer Festival. His choreography was featured on Fox’s hit series So You Think You Can Dance and he has performed and recorded with Grammy Award winner Dan Zanes. Mr. Grant was the recipient of the Princess Grace Award for Upcoming Young Artist, The Helen Hayes Award (Washington D.C.) for Outstanding Featured Actor as well as two additional for his role in Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk. Mr. Grant also received two Los Angeles Ovation Awards for choreography and for best Ensemble performance in Noise/Funk, and was most recently recognized for Best Choreography for Imagine Tap! He is currently a corporate Tap spokesperson for SoDanca and continues to transform and inspire dance communities around the world.
Karida Griffith (Teacher) just finished dancing with Cirque Du Soleil's "Banana Shpeel", performing in New York City and Toronto. She is a proud member of Jared Grimes' company TADAH, and is a regular performer in Grimes' hit show ‘Broadway Underground’, which has been celebrated in the New York Times, Backstage, and Dance Magazine. Karida was a Radio City Rockette, performing in the world-famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular in New York City. As a Rockette, She was in the original cast of Sinatra: His Voice, His World, His Way, directed by Des MacAnuff and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw. She also performed in the Tony Awards with Hugh Jackman and made multiple appearances on the Today Show. Karida recently performed with Chloe Arnold, Melinda Sullivan and Anissa Lee at the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation Gala. Also, she performed with Michelle Dorrance in her Bessie-Award winning Danspace production, as well as at Jacob's Pillow. In addition, Karida performed at the world-famous Cotton Club with Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards' Sophisticated Ladies. Karida is a member of Barbara Duffy & Company, the critically acclaimed all-women’s tap ensemble. Barbara Duffy & Company has been featured at Jacob's Pillow, the New York City Tap Festival, and in Barbara Duffy's production entitled "Stages". She produced a choreography showcase entitled “CREATIONS: Choreographic Introductions”. "CREATIONS" included the debut of Karida's choreography, and also featured the works of Chloe Arnold, Michelle Dorrance, Dana Foglia, Mishay Petronelli & Claudia Rahardjanoto. Karida's choreography was featured at the NYC Tap Festival at Symphony Space, where she performed as a soloist. Karida began her study of dance in Portland, Oregon. Her professional career began as a principal dancer in the West Afrikan dance company, Northwest Afrikan American Ballet. Karida then joined the European tour cast of the Broadway hit Black and Blue, where she received direction from Henry LeTang and Dianne Walker, and was privileged to dance alongside such tap greats as Bunny Briggs and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards. Karida is also an enthusiastic dance teacher, who enjoys sharing her love of dance with young people. She teaches dance workshops around the country, and is a constant supporter of the Children's Theatre Company in New York as a choreographer, mentor, and member of its Board of Directors. Karida is incredibly grateful to her parents, family, friends and mentors who have supported her throughout her career.
Susan Hebach (ATDF Youth Program/ TCYE Director/Teacher) considers herself a graduate of “Woodpeckers Tap Dance Center” where she was fortunate to study with a diverse group of master tap artists such as her mentor, Brenda Bufalino, and other inspirational teachers such as Barbara Duffy, Robin Tribble, Margaret Morrison, Josh Hilberman, Lynn Dally, and Diane Walker to name a few. As a choreographer, she enjoys developing new works and collaborating with fellow dancers of “The Tap Collective”, a tap company she founded in 1996. Her choreography has been featured in events such as “VII Nit de Claque” in Barcelona, Spain, to the offbeat “Vaudeville 2000” at LaMama ETC Theater and “The Elegance of Comedy of Tap”, hosted by Bill Irwin at NYC Town Hall, and Tap City, The New York City Tap Festival. Susan is the director of the ATDF Youth Program, as well as the Tap City Youth Ensemble. She has also served on the dance faculty for Oklahoma City University and Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri as visiting guest artist. Susan has also written a book for and after school young reader series, called “Tap Dance”, by Rosen Publishing.
Ray Hessilink (Teacher) is a Director/Choreographer living and working in New York City. Ray has presented choreography at various festivals and venues around NYC. Ray specializes in creating character driven choreography and excels at comedic storytelling through dance. Ray loves to make people laugh! As a dance instructor, Ray has had the privilege to help train the children who performed in Broadway's Billy Elliot: The Musical. Ray is on Faculty at Juilliard, Broadway Dance Center and STEPS on Broadway in NYC. He also coaches actors privately. Ray holds a B.A. from the School of Theater at UCLA.

Corey Hutchins (Performer) 28, from Manchester CT, has been tap dancing since he was 4 years old and Acting since age 9. Mr. Hutchins has work shopped and taken intensives from The Late Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Jason Samuels Smith, Barbra Duffy, The Late Dr. Buster Brown, Dr. Prince Spencer and Lady Diane Walker. Corey has studied under Derrick K. Grant, Clare O'Donnell and The late Dr. Jimmy Slyde. He has been seen on stages around the world such as Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center outdoors, The Duke Theatre on 42nd St. NY,  The Pantages theatre in LA, multiple Fox Theatres around the US, Munich Olympic Arena in Germany, other countries as Japan, Taiwan, France, Mexico, Finland, Austria and many more. Corey was a 6 year member of Riverdance, the Show where he was a featured tap soloist. In 2010 Hutchins had the honor of dancing at the White House for the First Lady and guests. 

Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Chikako Iwahori (Performer) began dancing at the age of ten, studying classical ballet, tap, jazz, baton twirling and Karate, in which she holds a black belt.In 1995, Chikako moved to New York City, immersing herself in rhythm tap, voice and West African dance and drumming. A much sought after, versatile performer, Chikako was a founding member of Irena Koloseus's,  "Feraba-African Rhythm Tap Company", performing with them from 1996-2001 at the Center Culturel France in Guinea and at Tap City 2001, Duke Theatre, NYC. She appeared in Roxanne Butterfly's "Beauteez'n The Beat" at the Supper Club and St. Clement's Church, both in NYC. Chikako has also been a principle dancer with Heather Cornell's, "Manhattan Tap", touring in France, Finland, Austria and Germany. Since 2003, Chikako has been a featured dancer in Max Pollak's, "Rumba Tap", a unique mix of Afro Cuban music and dance, tap & body percussion. They have toured internationally and performed at the prestigious Joyce Theater and Jacob's Pillow. In 2006, Chikako became a member of "Barbara Duffy & Company", performing in Tap City 2006, 07, 08, 09 at the Duke Theater and Symphony space, NYC.

Chikako's other performance highlights include, assistant director, choreographer and featured performer in "Dha Fuzion", an urban world music and dance theatrical band. Chikako is currently a percussionist, tap dancer and vocalist in the band, "Beat the Donkey" led by percussionist Cyro Baptista. Chikako has taught workshops in Finland, Japan, Germany and Zimbabwe and currently teaches at Marymount Manhattan College and several public schools in New York City.

Ryan Johnson (Teacher/Performer), a native of Baltimore, Maryland, is in the New York City cast of STOMP. He began dancing under the direction of his mother Vanessa Jackson Johnson at Turn Out Performing Arts Center. He continued to develop his passion for dance at Slater’s Dance Studio in Annapolis, Maryland, where he became a well-named tap dancers in Baltimore. Ryan has performed with well know artists such as Marvin Hamlish, Donnie McClurkin, Jason Samuels Smith, and the late Gregory Hines. At the age of twenty-two he created Raw Sound Tap Company with the soul purpose to teach, restore and preserve the history of Tap Dance in the Maryland area. Like many, Ryan has participated in numerous tap programs and festivals across the United States. He has also been commissioned by studios across the county to create choreography through workshops and residency programs. He is currently working to develop Daring Artist Making Noise, a non-profit dance company committed to restoring the performing arts in Baltimore. Ryan’s most recent achievement was being cited for his choreography and solo dance performance, receiving a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2008. Currently Ryan is the soloist in the world renowned Step Afrika, the first professional dance company dedicated to preserving the art form of Stepping, Gumboot, and Tap. As a soloist, he creates innovative choreography nightly, which has been seen all across the USA, Canada, and Asia.

 

Dexter Jones (Teacher) Has appeared on Broadway, Off B'way, and in National and International tours of Black and Blue, A Chorus Line (Richie), 42nd Street (Andy Lee), My One and Only (New Rhythm Boy), Riverdance, Play On!, The Tempest (Ferdinand), Sophisticated Ladies and the west coast premiere of Swinging on A Star, for which he was nominated for an NAACP Theatre Award for his performance. Regional credits include Mr. Magix in My One and Only at Stages St. Louis, Oh Kay! at the Goodspeed Opera House and Play On! at Pasadena Playhouse. He began dancing at the age of six and has never looked back. He attended S.U.N.Y. Purchase in the acting program transferred to R.A.D.A in London before finally graduating from Purchase with  B.A. in Theatre. His television credits include "Loving", "One Life to Live", "All My Children", "Bojangles" (starring Gregory Hines), "The Old Settler" (starring Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen) and PBS Great Performances of "Black and Blue" and "Play On!". 
Kazu Kumagai (Teacher/Performer) was born in Sendai City, Japan. He started tap dancing at the age of 15 and came to NY at the age of 19. As he was attending the New York University at the age of 20, he also trained in the New York Institute of Tap`s "FUNK UNIVERSITY," which was the training workshop for the big hit Broadway Musical "Bring in Da` Noise Bring in Da` Funk. He studied with Ted Levy, Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, Barbara Duffy, and Derick K. Grant. Since then, he has been performed in many NYC downtown clubs such as the Knitting Factory, Tonic, and the Puppet Jazz Club. From 2002 to 2010, he performed for in Tony Waag’s Tap City, the New York City Tap Festival nine times, and was dubbed by the Village Voice as the "Japanese Gregory Hines." In 2006, He was selected as "25 to Watch" in Dance Magazine. After Kaz went back to Japan in 2002, he made numerous solo appearances all over the country and collaborated with many artists and musicians, and appeared in several television commercials, such as SONY CYBERSHOT. He also performed in a MIHARAYASUHIRO fashion show in Milan, Italy, where he succeeded in opening up a new field of the Arts. In 2008, he opened his first tap dance studio "KAZ TAP STUDIO" in Japan, and has subsequently taught throughout Japan including in his home town of Sendai City, where there was severe damage due to the 2011 earthquake and Tsunami. Kaz dedicates his passion and love for the art of Tap Dance to the great masters such as his mentor Buster Brown, Jimmy Slyde, Gregory Hines and others, as well as to his hometown Tohoku where his family and friends live.

Photo by Leslie Kee

Lisa La Touche (Teacher/Performer) Proudly Canadian originally from Calgary, Alberta, Lisa is an internationally sought after tap dancer, teacher, choreographer and director and cast member in both the New York City and North American tour of STOMP.  Career highlights also include 3 years of performing at legendary Cotton Club, faculty member of School of Jacob's Pillow, performing in the International Body Music Festival in Istanbul, working at Beijing International Dance Festival via Chicago Human Rhythm Project as a dancer, choreographer and American media spokesperson, and also Co-Director and host of C.H.R.P.'s “Spotlight on Canada” where she proudly stood as a leader in representing Canadian’s talent and legacy in concert as part of the Rhythm World dance festival.

 

After earlier years of teaching, performing, producing and directing in her hometown in Canada, she established root in the American community by way of Chicago, where she worked extensively with renowned organizations M.A.D.D. Rhythms and the Chicago Human Rhythm Project.  Her career then transitioned to New York in 2008 and continued to grow with such opportunities as "A.C.G.I." and "Charlie's Angels" with Emmy Award winning dancer/choreographer Jason Samuels Smith, working with Bessie Award winner Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards at the Cotton Club and in her Michael Jackson tribute production “Blood on the dance floor" and working consistently with Max Pollak and his company Rumba Tap.  She's also danced in touring production of “Sophisticated Ladies” honoring the music of Duke Ellington, worked extensively with “Barbara Duffy and Co.”, Ayodele Casel and Sarah Savelli’s “Tap n2 Peace” and also The Cab Calloway Foundation Inc.  Lisa has been featured in numerous international dance festivals in Brazil, China, Germany, Turkey, UK, Switzerland, Canada and across the US.  She has appeared on faculty at Steps on Broadway and the American Tap Dance Foundation and still works with her own group "Tap Phonics”.  She currently is based in New York City and proudly works worldwide!

Michela Marino-Lerman (Teacher/Performer) first appeared on Sesame Street at the age of 5. In February 2002 she was showcased on the cover of Dance Teacher magazine with Gregory Hines. In 2005, she was named by Dance Spirit magazine as one of the 20 hottest tap dancers under 20 and in 2008, Dancemagazine named her as the only female tap dancer in its “25 to Watch in 2008.” Michela has appeared in both the Tap Extravaganza and Tap City numerous times over the past ten years. She won first prize in the Harlem Jazz Dance Festival’s, “Hoofer’s Challenge” in both 2002 and 2003. In 2002, Michela performed with Jennifer Holliday on Broadway in Nothing Like A Dame and also in 21 Belowat Town Hall. In 2003, she was inducted into the famed Copasetics as their first and only female lifetime honorary member. In 2004-2006, Michela toured Spain and Japan with Rafael Amargo’s Enramblao. In the fall of 2005, her choreography was featured in the tap section of the opening number for the Bermuda Music Festival with UDP, starring Al Green, Angie Stone, and Patti LaBelle. At the age of 19, she was commissioned by Dixon Place to create and direct her own show, entitled AM+bu$h+ED. 2007 saw Michela tour Europe for 3 months as a lead dancer in the hit show Magic of the Dance and also appear in Sarah Savelli and Ayodele Casel’s Tappy Holidays. In 2008-2009, she was featured in the show hit “Wonderland,” an all tap show set to Stevie Wonder’s music and also in Chris Scott’s show W-L-U-V. In 2008 she appeared on CBS’s Secret Talents of the Stars with Grammy award singer Mya, performing the choreography of Emmy award winner Jason Samuels Smith. Since 2007, Michela has been a featured performer at NYC’s hottest nightclub, The Box. She recently danced with the Roy Hargrove at the Jazz Gallery and the Village Vanguard. She has also been commissioned by the American Tap Dance Foundation and HarlemStage to show her new work entitled Tapsploitation. Recently she has been co-creator in forming the tap dance company The Tap Messengers who have performed at the CareFusion Jazz Festival with Talib Kweli and Nicholas Payton in the Revive Da Live Big Band, Joe’s Pub, and HarlemStage opening for Marcus Strickland. Michela is grateful for the mentoring and guidance given to her by Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, and Leroy Myers. She has also studied with Jason Samuels Smith, Henry LeTang, Baakari Wilder, Ayodele Casel, Derek Grant, Dianne Walker, and many other gifted teachers. She has taught in numerous schools, studios, programs, and festivals throughout the world. As a performer, teacher, director, and choreographer Michela is dedicated to spreading the art of tap around the world.
11373498">
Deborah Mitchell (Teacher) proudly celebrates 19 years as Founder and Artistic Director of New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble.  This St. Louis, MO native is known throughout the New York area as a distinguished tap professional. She is the protégé of Leslie “Bubba” Gaines of the Copasetics and student of many tap masters including Broadway Choreographer Henry LeTang.   Her many credits include The Cotton Club Motion Picture, Broadway and Paris Productions of Black and Blue, PBS Great Performances, 5 international tours with the legendary Cab Calloway, and a partnership with Philadelphia native Germaine Goodson as The Rhythm Queens. Under the direction of Ms. Mitchell, New Jersey Tap Ensemble is one of the most prominent touring tap dance companies in the state of New Jersey.  Ensemble tours have included New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, The Duke on 42nd Street, Tilles Center, Princeton and NJ Symphonies and the Joyce. She is producer of the NJTAP Touring Tap Boot Camp and participates annually in festivals such as New York City Tap Festival, St. Louis Tap Festival, Bay Area Tap Festival and Traditions In Tap.   She was a guest panelist on the subject of tap as an American art form at the Dance in the Millennium Conference, Washington, D.C. and participates in national and international programs such as the International Tap Association that focus on the promotion and perpetuation of tap dancing. Having attained a Masters Degree in Social Work from Indiana-Purdue University, Ms. Mitchell is a strong advocate for arts education. As a Principal Affiliate of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center she participated in the Center’s Dance Academy both as a tap an instructor and as a workshop facilitator.  Ms. Mitchell was instrumental in establishing tap dance as a technique to be offered to children participating in the Dance Academy. A master teacher and motivational speaker about the art form in many educational venues especially in New Jersey and throughout the tri-state, she also provides In-Service Training to teachers and dance educators. Ms. Mitchell is author, director and choreographer of the Doll Shop, an Arts in Education musical specifically developed for school age children grades K-5th. An extension of her work with the NJ Tap Touring Ensemble is NJTAP2 the pre-professional division of the company serving young artists ages 12-17. These young artists tour the state presenting the popular Generation Tap, an arts education musical appropriate for grades K-8th.    Ms. Mitchell served as Chairman of the Tap Department of Sharron Miller’s Academy for the Performing Arts, Montclair, NJ for 8 years, is on the advisory Board of Tony Waag’s Tap City in NY, is Assistant Director/Choreographer for Theater Workshop/Peppermint Players, Marie Foster and a proud second generation Silver Bell, Geraldine Kennedy, Founder.  Ms. Mitchell’s dedication, commitment and contribution to the art form has resulted in numerous awards, honors and citations.  On National Tap Dance Day 2006, Savion Glover presented Ms. Mitchell with an award for giving tirelessly to the spirit and legacy of tap dancing.  In March 2007, Dean John Bedford and Jo Rowan, Dance Department Chairman of Oklahoma City University, Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts management presented her with the Living Treasure Award “for preserving our American culture in her feet, in her mind and in her spirit.”  In May 2007, Ms. Mitchell was chosen by The New York Committee to Celebrate National Tap Dance Day as one of the Flo-Bert Honorees and in July 2007, she received The Hoofer Award from the American Tap Dance Foundation.  She is one of the many subjects included in Tap Dancing America, A Cultural History by Constance Valis Hill.  Most recently, she received the 2012 Living Legend Award in Flint, Michigan for her extraordinary contribution to the art form of tap dancing.
Margaret Morrison (ATDF Education Advisor/Teacher) is a rhythm tap soloist, playwright, and researcher who performs and teaches across the US , Europe and Brazil . This year, she wrote, starred and tap danced in her first play “Home In Her Heart,” which ran for eight months in New York City. Margaret completed her MFA in Dance through the American Dance Festival/Hollins University and is committed to creative performance projects, scholarly research, and writing that explores gender, race, social meaning, and history in tap dance. She is developing several new theater works, including one on Bert Whitman of the Whitman Sister’s Troupe; she contributed several essays on tap for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism and the Dance Heritage Coalition; her research paper "Juanita Pitts: Gender, Race, and the Female Hoofer" is forthcoming. Margaret began her performing career in 1986 as a founding member of the American Tap Dance Orchestra, directed by Brenda Bufalino. As a soloist she has been hailed by critics as "feather-footed and musically astute," and a "consummate artist who breaks the mold.” Margaret’s tap workshops emphasize musicality and creativity, with a particular emphasis on improvisation, composition, and performance skills. As Education Advisor of the ATDF, she over-sees the Foundation’s training programs, including Tap City , the New York City Tap Festival. She is a graduate of Barnard College , where she is currently on the faculty of the Dance Department, directing the Tap Ensemble, teaching tap technique and a history course "Tap as an American Art Form." Visit www.MargaretMorrison.com.

Known as a leader for tap dance in Australia, Winston Morrison (Performer) is the founder of Melbourne Tap Dance (performing group, tap classes and tap history education) and the Australian Tap Dance Festival - setting the benchmark for tap dance in Australia. Winston is tap columnist for DanceTrain magazine, writes and presents instructionals for Dance Infoma magazine, and is the Australian representative of the International Tap Association.  Sponsored by Capezio, his tap style is rhythmically rich, visually dynamic and soulful. Winston has appeared on television and radio specifically to represent tap on shows like ABC’s Studio 3, ABC Sunday Arts Program, The Today Show, Australia’s Got Talent, 1700 show, Eastside FM, performed at festivals including the Wangaratta Jazz Festival, St Kilda Festival, Spiegeltent, "Australia's Got Tap!" - Australian Tap Dance Festival, "United We're Strong" "Precious Is Life", "Tap Down Under" - Melbourne International Tap Festival, Clayton Street Festival, Sydney Road Music Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Los Angeles Tap Festival, New York City Tap Festival, shows including Sammi D - a Jazz Tap musical by Shonah Honeyhill Sonko, Parisian Rendezvous, Immersed Dance Industry Night, Underground Summer, Titanic Theatre Restaurant, A Chorus Line, My One & Only, and corporate events at St Regis Hotel Singapore, FINA World Swimming Championships, BMW Edge, Crown Casino and Fashion shows.

Gay Nardone (Performer) teaches jazz and tap dance and instituted the aerial arts program at UNH for the Department of Theatre and Dance. She received her M.F.A. and B.F.A. from the Boston Conservatory. Gay began her career with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and danced with the June Taylor Dancers of the Jackie Gleason television show. She has choreographed operas and musicals for the University including this years “Seussical” and is currently working on “Vignettes: Ellis Island” with David Ripley in the Music Department. Gay’s choreography may be seen in CLARA’S DREAM, the Jazz Nutcracker, where she has performed Since 2003 at the Music Hall in Portsmouth and on tours. Currently, Gay is performing with Dean Diggins and Drika Overton as the “Classical Tap Trio.” Last fall Gay’s career and her aerial dance program at UNH were featured on the WMUR television program “Chronicle”.
Andrew Nemr (Teacher) Artistic director of CPD PLUS (Cats Paying Dues), featured on the 2006 "Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon", Andrew's directorial debut All For Love premiered at the Main Stage Theater at Playwrights Horizons (NYC) to sold out audiences. An experienced soloist, Andrew has performed in various venues nationally and internationally including the PNC Bank Arts Center, NJ, La MaMa, Etc., NY, the Blue Note Jazz Club, NY, Town Hall Theatre, NY, The Duke Theatre, NY, and the Bloomsbury Theatre, London, England. Andrew was featured alongside Jazz greats Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Hank Jones, James Carter, and John Faddis in A Great Night in Harlem at the Apollo Theatre, NY, in support of the Jazz Foundation of America and, additionally on Harry Connick Jr.'s Only You Tour at Proctors Theatre, Schenectedy, NY. Most recently he was the featured tap dancer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra presenting Duke Ellington: The Sacred Concerts. As a founding member and dance captain of Savion Glover's TiDii, Andrew was featured in the critically acclaimed Improvography at The Joyce Theatre (NYC), the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival 2001, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon", the 2002 Winter Olympics Arts Festival, and the 2002 Nijinsky Awards in Monaco. Andrew was also the only tap dancer to be featured in La Nuit Du Hip Hop (A Night of Hip Hop) in Grenoble, France, as part of the dance collective World Soul. As a host Andrew's sense of humor and giving nature have made his appearances more than enjoyable. He most recently hosted Walking in Time at the Historic State Theatre, Ithaca, NY, in addition to a number of appearances as the host of the legendary Buster Brown Tap Jam at Swing 46, NYC. Andrew also co-hosted his own ongoing session Dance Attacks, along with Hayes Greenfield, at Teddy's in Williamsburg, NY. In his efforts to continue to champion the art form of tap dance, Andrew co-founded, along with Gregory Hines, the Tap LegacyTM Foundation, Inc., which most recently co-produced the First Annual Finger Lakes Tap Dance Festival. Andrew is an Advisory Board member of the New York Committee to Celebrate National Tap Dance Day and is a card-carrying member of the original Copasetics, Inc. Andrew has been blessed to receive the guidance of many of the great tap dancers including Eddie Brown, Dr. Bunny Briggs, Dr. Jimmy Slyde, Dr. James "Buster" Brown, LeRoy Myers, Ernest "Brownie" Brown, Henry "Phace" Roberts, Dr. Henry LeTang, Mable Lee, Tina Pratt, Dianne Walker, Savion Glover, Ted Levy, and Gregory Hines. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Art from The School of Visual Arts, NYC. Andrew performs regularly with the legendary Les Paul at the Iridium Jazz Club, NYC, and is on the faculty of Broadway Dance Center, NYC.
A veteran of over 30 years as a tap and percussive dance artist, Drika Overton (Performer) has been a leader in the resurgence of the vital American art of tap dance. Her original choreography and rhythmic compositions embody influences as diverse as early jazz vernacular movement and traditional jazz tap, West African and Afro-Cuban dance and drum, Celtic dance and music, and Japanese taiko and body percussion. The outcome is innovative and captivating, full of visual and rhythmic inventiveness. Drika has shared the stage with many legendary artists including Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, Buster Brown, Brenda Bufalino, Fayard Nicholas, and Bill Irwin and has worked with many internationally recognized musicians. She has been the creative force in the formation of several innovative ensembles, from Take Five, a five-woman rhythm dance group in San Francisco, to StopTime, a premier jazz tap ensemble in New England in the late 1980’s. In the 1990’s she cofounded the trio Suite:Feet with musicians Kevin Farley and Steven Bracciotti and in 2003 partnered with legendary Maine luthier and ukulele player, Joel Eckhaus to create the vaudeville duo Ham & Legs. Drika has also been a featured soloist at the Duke Theater in New York as part of the New York City Tap Festival; the Southeastern TapExplosion in Atlanta; RhythmExplosion, Bozeman, Mont.; the Bates Dance Festival; the New England Artist’s Congress; The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Shipyard Project; on Public Television; and at numerous jazz clubs, concerts, and festivals. In 2007, Drika was selected to participate in the first New England Dance Lab, a Regional Dance Development Initiative of the National Dance Project. Also in 2007 New England Presenters commissioned her and composer Paul Arslanian, with support from the New England Foundation for the Arts, to create a new touring project, Off the Beaten Path: A Jazz & Tap Odyssey, which toured New England in 2008-2009. In 1995 Drika created the Portsmouth Percussive Dance Festival, an internationally recognized week long summer festival of music, dance and song. From the creative energy of the festival over its many years Drika created MaD Theatricals, a unique collaboration of nationally and internationally celebrated jazz and tap artists including Brenda Bufalino, Josh Hilberman, Dean Diggins and Paul Arslanian, that produced the critically acclaimed Clara's Dream A Jazz Nutcracker (2000), and Music Hall Follies: A Vaudeville in 9 Acts (2003), with special guest artists Bill Irwin and Fayard Nicholas. The Follies was an integral part of Drika’s large scale Portsmouth Vaudeville Project (1999-2003) that included the video documentary 4 Theatres: Remembering Portsmouth in the Age of Vaudeville which aired on NH Public Television and at film festivals around the country. Drika has received four Spotlight on the Arts Awards from the Seacoast Newspapers as Best Dancer and for Best Dance Production for Clara's Dream a jazz nutcracker, a production also featured in the BBC documentary "Fascinating Rhythms." She has received an Artist Fellowship and New Works grants from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts as well as grants from the Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation, Art Builds Community! funded by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, and The New England Foundation for the Arts. In 2007 she was awarded the New Hampshire Governor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Arts Leadership. Drika teaches master classes and residencies at schools, colleges and universities, studios, and festivals throughout the United States. Dance companies at Rhode Island College, Auburn University, and dancers and ensembles countrywide have performed her choreography. She is currently on the Theater Dance Department Faculty at The Boston Conservatory.
Claudia Rahardjanoto (Teacher/Performer) Born and raised in Berlin/Germany, Claudia was trained in ballet, jazz and later in tap. She fell in love with tap dancing immediately and has extensively studied tap with Sam Weber, Andreas Dänel, Sven Göttlicher and Pascal Hulin. She has danced in numerous tap dance-shows in Europe (Germany, Austria, Sweden, Belgium, Holland) and has been on tour with several touring productions around Europe as well as the United States ("Magic Of The Dance", "Dancing Feet", "Dancing On Common Ground"). After moving to NYC in 2003 to continue her education and pursue a career in dance in the US, Claudia has since appeared on the 'Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon' with Andrew Nemr's CPD Plus, appeared on MTV's 'TRL' as part of a 'Happy Feet'-segment with Robin Williams and Elijah Wood and has been a featured dancer in an evening called ‘Dianne Walker and Friends’. Claudia has been extremely blessed and fortunate to have met and spend valuable time (on or off stage) with masters like Dr.Jimmy Slyde, Dr.Bunny Briggs, Dr.Henry LeTang, Dr.Buster Brown, Harold Cromer, Mable Lee, Dianne Walker, Ted Levy, and Savion Glover and others. She is very grateful to have been able to dance with Dianne 'Lady Di' Walker, Michelle Dorrance, Roxanne Butterfly’s WORLDBEATS, Andrew J. Nemr's CPD Plus, Susan Hebach’s TAP COLLECTIVE, Barbara Duffy and Company, Jared Grimes' T.A.D.A.H., Max Pollak’s RUMBATAP, Michael Minery's Tapaholics and alongside the fabulous Miss Mable Lee as one of her Dancing Ladies. Claudia is currently on faculty at Steps On Broadway and Broadway Dance Center.
Courtney Runft, (ATDF Education Associate/Registrar and Teacher) began her early dance training with Sharon Rogers at Rogers Ballet Inc. in Wichita, Kansas where she continues to go back to guest teach. She continued her training as a ballet dancer at Friends University with Sharon and Stan Rogers as well as Melonie Buchanan, Fransisco Martinez, and Dominic Walsh. Since moving to New York City in 2005, Courtney has had the opportunity to study with and/or perform choreography by Michelle Dorrance, Derick K. Grant, Barbara Duffy, Brenda Bufalino, Jared Grimes, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and Melinda Sullivan. She is one of Mable Lee’s Dancing Ladies, has performed in a number of Tap City and Tap Extravaganza performances, Jared Grimes’ Broadway Underground and is a member of the C3 Tap Cooperative. She can be seen in the April 2010 issue of Dance Spirit magazine. Courtney is the American Tap Dance Foundation’s Education Assistant/Registrar and a faculty member in the Year Round Youth Program, and she is currently the Assistant to the Choreographer on Cirque du Soleil’s newest show “Banana Shpeel” at the Beacon Theater in New York City.
Germaine Salsberg (Teacher) began her career as a child actress, appearing on radio and television in her native Canada. After 10 years as a modern dancer with the Toronto Dance Theatre touring throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe, she discovered tap dancing. She has been on the faculty of Broadway Dance Center for over 20 years, as well as Steps on Broadway, Germaine teaches anyone from Broadway professionals to people who "just love to tap. She has taught at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Ed as well as Cap 21 and Pace University as well as throughout the US and internationally. She has gained a reputation for teaching a strong foundation of technique through rhythm elements that will carry into any area of tap dance. She assisted Tony Award Winner Danny Daniels for Broadway and National tours of "Tap Dance Kid" and has privately coached many actors including Liza Minnelli for the movie "Steppin Out." Germaine has choreographed such regional musical theater productions as 42nd Street, Anything Goes, George M!, Crazy For You, and Dames at Sea. She has performed tap in Edmonton's Fringe Festival, with the Jazz Tap Center on tour, as well as at Tap City in New York, and the Boston Tap Festival. Germaine serves on the Board of Tradition In Tap. After years of helping others to find technique and self expression through tap dance, she has entered her own journey of self discovery through choreography with her company, Les Femmes.

Lynn Schwab (Teacher/Performer) a member of Barbara Duffy and Company, RumbaTap, and The Tap Collective, has performed at such notable New York venues as The Duke on 42nd Street, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Town Hall, Off Broadway’s La MAMA, World Festival 2000, The International Street Performers Festival, The River to River Festival, Central Park’s SummerStage, Joe’s Pub, Studio 54, The Joyce and The Joyce SoHo Theatres. She has performed at Jacob’s Pillow and as a guest artist with Billy Siegenfeld and Jeannie Hill’s Jump Rhythm Jazz Project. With members of The Tap Collective, she choreographed and performed the Morton Gould Tap Dance Concerto with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with The Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, and at festivals in the U.S., Germany, Spain, France, Holland, and Estonia. She continues to tour the U.S. with Tap City on Tour and in addition to her regular classes at Steps on Broadway in New York City, teaches and performs at festivals and workshops in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

Billy Siegenfeld (Teacher) is the founder, artistic director, principal choreographer, vocal arranger, and ensemble performing member of Jump Rhythm Jazz Project (JRJP), a national and international-touring company of dancer-singer-actors that fuses rhythmically percussive body-music and expressionistic theatre (www.jrjp.org/info@jrjp.org).  At Northwestern University he is a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence in the Department of Theatre where he teaches dance and movement courses based in the Jump Rhythm® point of view; an instructor in the School of Engineering where he teaches partnered swing-dancing as a source of creative and collaborative problem-solving; and a fellow at the Women's Residential College. He is also the artistic director of the Helsinki-based Finnish dance company Jump Rhythm® Collective.  Their members perform his choreography using Jump Rhythm® Technique and Standing Down Straight® as the foundations of their performance, training, and teaching. Billy is the creator of both of these systems. Jump Rhythm® Technique is a rhythm-generated movement-and-voice training for dancers, actors, and singers.  Standing Down Straight® is an injury-preventive, mind-body-integrating system that serves as the basis of all Jump Rhythm-based performance and pedagogy. He was designated a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2005, which took him to Finland that year to introduce the theory and practice of Jump Rhythm@ Technique to the students of the Arts Academy of Turku University of Applied Sciences.  He and senior company members of JRJP returned to the Academy for the next five years to teach Jump Rhythm® Technique and recreate his choreography on the dance company there.  These residencies culminated in 2011 with his creation of the site-specific version of his “Sorrows of Unison Dancing” at Brinkhall Manor in Kakserta, and his delivering the keynote address at a conference at Turku University addressing art-based approaches to working with youth.  The conference sponsors commissioned him to write an essay based on this address titled  “The Art of Misbehaving: Youth, American Rhythm Dancing, and The Need To Not Be Good.” It was published in Finland in 2012 in the anthology Moving In!: Art-Based Approaches to Working with Youth. Both Billy’s first published article (“If Jazz Dance, Then Jazz Music”; Dance Teacher Now; August 1990) and his most recent one (“Performing Energy: American Rhythm Dancing and ‘The Great Articulation of the Inarticulate’”) are included in the forthcoming anthology of dance writing published by the University of Florida, Roots and Branches of Jazz Dance. After graduating from Brown University with a B.A. in Literature, Billy worked in New York City where he performed with the Don Redlich Dance Company for nine years.  In New York, he was also a full-time faculty member at Hunter College for 13 years and served as the director of its Dance Program from 1982 to 1991. He performed in the Broadway production of Singin’ in the Rain as well as in off-Broadway theatre. He earned his M.A. in Dance from New York University with the thesis “Hunting the Rhythmic Snark: The Search for Swing in Jazz Performance.”  Besides immersing in various dance techniques, he studied acting with Tim Phillips, voice with Joan Kobin, and Mabel Ellsworth Todd and Lulu Sweigard’s principles of gravity-directed, injury-preventive posture and motion with Andre Bernard.  That work with Bernard served as the foundation of the mind-body-healing, injury-preventive movement re-training system he created called Standing Down Straight®.

Randy Skinner (Teacher) is an award winning American director, choreographer and performer. He has been nominated three times for Tony Awards and twice for Drama Desk Awards for choreography. Skinner graduated from Ohio State University and is a guest teacher at various colleges. He moved to New York in 1976 seeking dancing jobs, and Gower Champion asked him to be a dance assistant on 42nd Street in 1980. In 1985, Ginger Rogers cast him as Val opposite Karen Ziemba and asked him to choreograph a production of Babes in Arms that she directed in upstate New York and in Connecticut. His Broadway work as a choreographer includes the musicals White Christmas and State Fair. He choreographed the Broadway revival of 42nd Street in 2001 and also choreographed and staged the London, Australia and two U.S. national companies and the Amsterdam production of the musical. He has choreographed several staged productions for the City Center Encores! series, including No, No Nanette (May 2008). His Off-Broadway and regional theatre choreography work includes productions of White Christmas around the U.S., An American in Paris (2008 in Houston, Texas), Happy Days (2006 in Los Angeles), Lone Star Love (2004 Off-Broadway; 2007 Seattle), Babes in Arms (2002 at the Goodspeed Opera House), Abby's Song (1999 Off-Broadway, also directing) and Lucky in the Rain (1997 at Goodspeed).

Jason Samuels Smith (Teacher) has emerged as a multi-talented leader in the Art form of Tap. He won both an Emmy and American Choreography Award for "Outstanding Choreography" for the Opening number of the 2003 Jerry Lewis/MDA Telethon in a tribute to the late Gregory Hines. Mr. Samuels-Smith most recently received the Gregory Hines Humanitarian in addition to past honors including a Certificate of Appreciation by the City of Los Angeles for creating the First Annual Los Angeles Tap Festival in 2003; a Proclamation declaring April 23rd "Jason Samuels Day" from the City of Shreveport, Louisiana; the "Ivy of Education" from Brainerd Institute; the "President Kenny Award" from Stony Brook; an Alpert/McDowell Residency Award; and an Arts International Grant among others.  Mr. Samuels Smith most recently appeared as a special guest on Fox's hit series "So You Think You Can Dance" and is currently working as a choreographer for a new reality show scheduled to debut this coming season. Films include co-starring in Dean Hargrove's "Tap Heat", a dynamic award-winning short film touring film festivals worldwide (available on DVD); Outkast's feature film "Idlewild"; and Debbie Allen's AMC television series "Cool Women" to name a few. Performances include Sammy (a tribute to the life of Sammy Davis jr.), and in a leading role of the star-studded production of Soul Possessed; the Tony Award winning Broadway cast of Bring in Da'Noise, Bring in Da'Funk in principal and lead roles; starring in the critically acclaimed production of Imagine Tap!. Mr. Samuels Smith continues to tour the US and beyond with India Jazz Suites, a dynamic collaboration with Kathak Master Pandit Chitresh Das, his own tap company A.C.G.I (Anybody Can Get It), JaJa Productions Band featuring jazz-influenced hip hop music, and Charlie's Angels: A Tribute to Charlie Parker which features some of the best women performers today. 

Lia Spirka (Teacher), a graduate of the University of California, Irvine, performed with the company Tap Overload for over seven years in Southern California. She has also performed with Taps, Ltd. and DanzAlegria, and her choreography has been featured by the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance and the Orange Coast College Dance Department. She is working in collaboration with Dianne Walker on a project to teach and share the choreography of Leon Collins. Lia has learned this choreography under the watchful eye of Dianne and has been encouraged by her to continue this important work. In addition, Lia has performed choreography by Derick Grant at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. – and she has performed under the direction of Brenda Bufalino in tributes to the American Tap Dance Orchestra, Honi Coles, Bill Robinson, and Ernest “Brownie” Brown at the Duke On 42nd Street Theater. Lia has also studied extensively with many other tap masters, including Linda Sohl-Ellison and Sam Weber. Lia received the Rhapsody In Taps 2002, 2003, & 2004 Tap Legacy Awards. She has taught at several studios in Southern California – most recently at Momentum Dance Center prior to relocating to New York City in 2009, where she currently works at New York University (NYU).

 

The Tap City Youth Ensemble(Performers) features the best and brightest young tappers from the New York City area. The ensemble was founded in 2006 by the American Tap Dance Foundation to give young tap dancers from the ages of 13 – 19 an opportunity to work with professional choreographers. The ensemble preserves the rich heritage of tap dance through learning classic/historical tap repertory and new contemporary works. The Tap City Youth Ensemble performs in a range of New York area venues including formal concerts, school shows, hospital shows, and free public events.

Tony Waag (Producer/Artistic/Executive Director) founded the American Tap Dance Foundation (formerly known as the American Tap Dance Orchestra) in 1986, along with Brenda Bufalino and the late Charles "Honi" Coles. From 1989-1995, he co-created and operated, with Ms. Bufalino, Woodpeckers Tap Dance Center which became a model for numerous tap organizations and tap studios worldwide creating, producing, and presenting various educational programs for adults and children year-round, as well as annual winter tap intensives with master classes, courses and workshops taught by leading International artists and master tap dancers. I n 2001, he renamed the organization the American Tap Dance Foundation and created Tap City, the annual New York City Tap Festival with premiere performances of all styles of tap by artists from around the world, as well as an extensive training program for adults, teens and children, city wide events, tap jams, student showcases, panel discussions, lectures and film screenings. As a performer and choreographer, he has been featured in hundreds of concert, film and television productions including appearances at the legendary Apollo Theater, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the United Nations, the Atlanta Arts Festival, the Utah Arts Festival, the Colorado Dance Festival, the Lincoln Center "Out-of-Doors" Festival, the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, PBS’s "Great Performances, a national Seagram's commercial, and in a French car commercial for Renault in Paris. I nternational appearances include USIA tours of Turkey, Poland, Cyprus, Latvia and Estonia, and recent American ambassador tours of Armenia and Romania with his production of Tap City on Tour. He has also taught and performed in Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, and Spain. Mr. Waag has received numerous grants towards the presentation and preservation of tap dance as a unique American art form. In 2002, he created the first International Tap Dance Hall of Fame honoring the contributions of legendary tap dancers by preserving their legacies for future generations to enjoy. He also created the annual Tap Preservation and Hoofer Awards, the Gregory Hines Youth Scholarship Fund, and the Gregory Hines Collection of American Tap Dance Archives which are now housed at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. I n 2009, he created and staged the touring production of “Thank You Gregory”, a tribute to the Legends of Tap Dance which can now be seen in theaters across the country. I n January of 2010, he opened the American Tap Dance Center in New York City where he currently directs on-going education and training programs for tappers of all ages and levels.
Photo by Lois Greenfield

Dianne Walker (Teacher) her career has taken her to Broadway, television, theater, and numerous universities and jazz performance venues throughout the world. Ms. Walker has been awarded grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and The National Endowment for the Arts. In 1996, she represented the United States as an adjudicator for the World Tap Dance Championships, held in Dresden, Germany. In Boston, 1997, she received the "Tapestry Award" for excellence in teaching, and in 1998, she received the "Living Treasure In American Dance Award" from Oklahoma City University. Ms. Walker was a featured dancer in the movie TAP. Additionally, she was in the original Paris production of Black and Blue, and in the Broadway production, she was Assistant Choreographer/Dance Captain. At that time, she had the prestigious honor of being the only female dancer in the famed Hoofers Line with Lon Chaney, Jimmy Slyde, Chuck Green, and Bunny Briggs. She has been featured in documentaries such as Songs Unwritten... Leon Collins, Honi Coles... the Class Act of Tap, Black and Blue, and Great performances... Tap Dance in America. Ms. Walker appeared most recently in the US and international tour of Footnotes, with Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, and Buster Brown.

Cartier Williams (Teacher) Hoofer, Choreographer, Filmmaker and Performer who hails from Washington, D.C., began his tap dancing career at the age of four. Cartier learned his first tap steps from his grandmother Audrey Williams. At the age of six Cartier performed a piece choreographed by Mýa Cartier won Apollo Kids at The prestigious Apollo Theater Distinguished as one of The Apollo Theater's youngest "Apollo Legends". Later that year Cartier was invited to the Kennedy Center Honors along side Robert Downey Jr.  Mr. Williams  studied at The Washington School of Ballet under the tutelage of Mary Day. When he was 10 years old, Cartier Co-Starred with Tap Legends Buster Brown, Jimmy Slyde and Dianne Walker in the International tour of FOOTNOTES. Cartier consider it a blessing to have danced and shared the stage with tap pioneers and masters Peg Leg Bates, The Nicholas Brothers, and Gregory Hines. He has appeared on THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW, THE TONIGHT SHOW, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, and CNN. He has performed for 2 U.S. Presidents, and in 1998 Co-Starred in the PBS Special: In Performance at The White House with President Clinton. He toured the U.S. and Japan in the Tony Award Winning BRING IN 'da NOISE, BRING IN 'da FUNK, Co-starring with Savion Glover.He has performed at The Joyce Theatre, New York City Center as well as the L.A Kodak Theatre where he performed The AFI Awards: A Tribute to Tom Hanks. Other appearances include a performance at Usher's birthday bash in New York City performances for the FCC, The CIA, The State Department and Department of Justice. Now 20, Cartier is currently performing his latest production A BEAUTIFUL CHAOS  which is slated to tour in 2011 created by Cartier and two New York Film Academy friends Matt Denoma and Max Schiano. He is collaborating with Harold Cromer on a new work which will premiere in Spring 2011.  He is a student of The New York Film Academy. As a Filmmaker Cartier has written, directed and produced: Phone Bait, The Violinist, and My Love Awaits. He's appeared in Spike Lee's Film Bamboozled. Cartier also performed at The Opening of the Cannes Film Festival for Moulin Rouge. He released his first Instructional DVD:  CARTIER WILLIAMS' HOOFING WITH THE BASICS in March 2010.  

Karen Callaway Williams (Teacher) the Producer of Rhythms for Ruby and the author of Gabriella’s Tap Shoes and Rhythms for Ruby (in print and audio book) is known for being both the first African-American female tap dancer and dance captain in RIVERDANCE - THE SHOW and the only African-American female tap dancer and dance captain in RIVERDANCE - ON BROADWAY. Other Broadway credits include the Tony Award nominated Duke Ellington musical PLAY ON.  She is currently featured on the cover of Flow Magazine and in the wonderful current documentary BEEN RICH ALL MY LIFE the story of the Silver Belles, having now received the honor of being a Second Generation Silver Belle. Karen has toured extensively having recently returned from Zurich Switzerland for the Zurich Tap Festival, The United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain) with the Duke Ellington Big Band, Armenia and Romania with TAP CITY ON TOUR through the Unites States Embassy, the ALL THAT TAP TAIPEI festival in Taiwan, on Canadian soil with TAP GIANTS and Tap TEL AVIV and in Beijing, China, Canada and North America with the RIVERDANCE Flying Squad and RIVERDANCE, Boyne Company. DANCE MAGAZINE heralded her as "a graceful dream with taps as happy as a song" and the New York Times called her “a gifted traditionalist with laughing eyes”. She was a featured tap solo artist with the Detroit, Toronto and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras and in ALL THAT JAZZ and the BSO HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In addition she was a soloist and special guest choreographer for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Two memorable performances were held at THE HOLE IN THE WALL GANG CAMP for Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward and at the APOLLO THEATRE with the Silver Belles for President Bill Clinton. In addition to performing, Ms. Williams has established herself as a prominent tap instructor teaching statewide on a weekly basis. Her teaching history includes Spelman College, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Poly-Prep Country Day School, PPAS in Manhattan, NJPAC Dance Academy, NYC Dance Alliance, national and international tap festivals, dance camps, master classes and enrichment programs. Look for the upcoming release of her third children's book “Gabriella and the Tap Dance Floor. All books are available on Amazon.com.

Nicholas Young (Teacher/Performer) began his professional dance carrier with Tapestry Dance Company, under the direction of Acia Gray, and Deirdre Strand. Moving to principle dancer, resident choreographer he spent more than 10 years with the company. Moving to New York, he began working with local Tap dancers and musicians, on various projects. Including Manhattan Tap, Hoofin to Hittin, Beat the Donkey, and Rumba Tap. Nicholas joined the Off Off Broadway production of STOMP in 2002 and is currently a performer and the rehearsal director for the American tour. Nicholas has taught master classes for the Soul to Sole, Third Coast Rhythm, and the Saint Louis Tap Festivals, among others. He would like to thank His mother for constant support and inspiration through art.

 

 

 

CONTACTABOUTPROGRAMS PRESSCOMMUNITY SPONSORS STORE RENTALS DONATE