Tap City Performers/Choreographers

Apt 33 (Performing in Tap Forward), was created by Chloe Arnold, and is an eclectic group of tap dancers who moved to NYC from all over the world to pursue their Tap Dreams. Home to professional tap dancers Chloe & Maud Arnold. Apartment 33 has literally acted as a creative hub and often times home for these artist where the natural dynamic at play has lead to the mentoring and development of diverse talents with a common passion. From Broadway to touring and even national television, these success stories are joining forces to celebrate the art that has brought them together, TAP!

Chloe Arnold (Performer/Choreography in Tap Forward) is an International Tap Star. Her latest hit, Beyonce Tap Salute by her company Chloé's Syncopated Ladies, has gone viral, reaching over 400,000 hits in under 36 hours upon endorsement by Beyonce herself: ( As a leading lady in the Art Form of Tap, Chloé has wooed audiences in over 21 countries and 35 states. Her work can be seen on film, television and stages worldwide. Co-Founder of DC Tap Festival and former Co-Director of LA Tap Festival, Chloé's most recent highlights include a recurring role as an Onyx Girl on HBO's Boardwalk Empire; choreographing a commercial for Canon; performing at Madison Square Garden for the opening of the NY Knicks 2013-2014 season; working with Beyonce on the 2013 Pepsi and H&M campaigns; guest performing on NBC's America's Got Talent, ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, and FOX's So You Think You Can Dance; a sold-out NY run of her One Woman show My Life. My Diary My Dance at La MaMa in New York City; Global Fusion Concert in Dubai & Muscat with 10 of the world's most accomplished musicians; and performing with Chloé's Syncopated Ladies at the star-studded “One Night Only” Homecoming Gala Concert Cabaret at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC. Chloé is also a female entrepreneur who holds an Ivy League degree from Columbia University. She and her sister co-founded Chloé and Maud Productions and DC Tap Festival; currently produce a travel web series "Chloé's World”; and co-producing the documentary TAP WORLD with Hollywood Executive Producer Dean Hargrove. For more information:


Brenda Bufalino (Performer in Tap Forward) is a mixed genre performer.  As a Tap Dance soloist, and choreographer/director of The American Tap Dance Orchestra, she has performed and taught Internationally for over 25 years.   Her collaborations with her partner and mentor the great Charles ‘Honi’ Coles, has infused her with the essence of the form that she now shares, with her stories, teaching, and dances.   Her International guest appearances, master classes and One Person Shows have influenced the next two generations of tap artists, and she is still creating new experimental and traditional tap works and performances.  She has performed solo and with her company “The American Tap Dance Orchestra” at all the major venues; Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Joyce Theater, The Kennedy center and major theaters across America and Europe and appeared with her company on PBS "Tap Dance in America with Gregory Hines."  As an international Master Tap Teacher, Mentor and Lecturer she was instrumental in the creation of Tap Festivals, which are still thriving throughout the world. Ms. Bufalino has been awarded several National Endowment for The Arts Awards.  She has been awarded: The Flobert Award, The Tapestry Award, The Tap City Hall of Fame Award, and The Dance Magazine award, all for outstanding achievement and contributions to the field of tap dance.  She has created many DVD’s, and CD’s, which along with her memoir "Tapping The Source," and her poetry book “Circular Migrations,’ published by Codhill Press, are all available on her website:
Photo by Lois Greenfield

Roxane Butterfly (Performer in Tap Forward) Sought after for her exceptional improvisational skills, tap dance artist Roxane Butterfly has been a leading figure on the world tap stage for the last two decades (both in America and Europe). Very first woman to win a Bessie Award (1998) in the history of tap, she represents a direct link to the generation of her mentors, the Original Hoofers. She is known to constantly push the art-form further while passing on the knowledge of her masters. Baptized “Butterfly” by legendary Jimmy Slyde in the early nineties, she is the only European woman who has had a recognized tap career in America and to have received high marks of artistic distinction such as a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2006).  In the New York of her youth, she was  fortunate to dance with some of the most famous musicians in the world such as George Benson, James Carter, Stanley Jordan, Roy Haynes, Phil Woods, Benny Powell, Les Paul... to name just a few of them.... She was a featured soloist with the New York Virtuosi Orchestra, Stamford Philharmonic, the Cab Calloway Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra... and was invited to numerous festivals like Jazz à Toulon, The Nice Jazz Festival, Festival d' Un Monde á L' Autre (Lyon, France ), Clifford Brown Jazz Festival (USA), Nuits D ́Afrique at Kola Jazz (Montreal), and world-music stage : (ex) her Djellaba Groove Project opened the renowned GlobalFest at the Public Theater (NY 2006), Summerstage (Central Park 2006), Lincoln Center Outdoors (NY 2007) etc ... Such experiences have attracted to her the interest of music critics who have compared her to musicians as exemplary and diverse as jazz legendary John Coltrane and king of minimalism Steve Reich. She was also fortunate to collaborate throughout two decades with the pioneering and critically acclaimed production of Tamango ́s Urban Tap. A ground-breaking choreographer whose works have been as diverse, applauded or controversed, Roxane has brought tap to many international dance festivals and venues such as the American Dance Festival in Durham (2004), Harkness Dance Festival (NY, 2005), ImpulsTanz in Vienna (Austria, 2002), DanceSalad (Houston 2002), Institute del Teatre (Barcelona 2010) etc ....She is the only woman of her generation who has led a worlwide solo-career under her own name, presenting original work in Africa, the Middle-East, Europe, South and North America, Asia and the Caribeans. Her multiple achievements include teaching at universities, lecturing at world-dance conferences and music-ethnology panels, publishing in dance and music magazines in french and english, coaching actors and dancers such as Pablo Veron (Tango Lesson 1997), appearing in films and multi-media projects (notably the world-touring video-dance-installation SLOW DANCE by David Michalek), radio, television, directing and choreographing for commercials (: HSBC commercial, Istanbul 2007) etc... In 2005, she attracted to Barcelona American funding to work on her celebrated flamenco-tap fusion project Djellaba Groove and to form her first European tap-company. Since then, her influence has left a deep mark in the Barcelona tap-landscape where she runs the Jimmy Slyde Institute tap program in her own studio, (founded in 2010).  She is collaborating with various world-known artists such as Japanese Taiko drummer Leonard Eto and recently performed their new work at the Acropolium of Cartagena in Tunisia.

Maurice Chestnut (Performer in Tap Forward) Newark, New Jersey native Maurice Chestnut began dancing at the age of five, under the direction of Mr. Alfred Gallman.  He became a professional dancer at the age of nine as an original member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble under the direction of Ms. Deborah Mitchell.  As one of taps’ brightest young stars, he was featured on The Sally Jesse Raphael Show in the “My Kid’s A Star” segment, where he proudly proclaimed that he loved to dance and would keep doing it “until I die”.  He was a gold medalist in the NAACP Act-So competition and was crowned “Top Dog Performer” at The Apollo Theater.  At the age of fourteen, the Newark Star-Ledger’s arts reviewers named Maurice, “one of the twenty New Jersey faces to watch for in the new millennium.” In 2003, Maurice was recruited by tap master Savion Glover, to join the national touring company of the Tony Award winning Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk.  Maurice received critical favor in that role.  He has continued to work with Savion as a member of his Improvography and Bare Soundz tours, as well as performing in productions such as Classical Savion, Tappin’ Into Monk, Invitation To The Dancer and on ABC-TV’s Dancing With The Stars.  Off-Broadway credits include Shades of Harlem, The Wiz, Bubbling Brown Sugar directed by George Faison at Atlanta’s Fox Theater and Can I Hit That and in 2011, He was one of the performers in the movie"Happy Feet 2". Maurice has developed an impressive list of credits.  In addition to performing with his own band, he is often invited to perform or tour as a special guest with such prominent jazz musicians as Christian McBride, Cyrus Chestnut and Thelonius Monk III.   His high profile engagements have included the JVC Jazz Festival, the Playboy Jazz Festival, The Apollo Theater and Birdland, as well as appearances at Carnegie Hall and throughout Europe with the Geri Allen Trio.  As a featured soloist and choreographer, Maurice skillfully uses these venues to further develop his signature style of “playing tap” as a “live instrument.”  He seamlessly weaves complex dance steps to interplay with musical notes, creating a powerful and distinctive energy that resonates with his audiences. Inspired by such hoofing greats as the Nicholas Brothers and Jimmy Slyde, yet equally influenced by and connected to urban culture, Maurice Chestnut dances with truth, soul and power.   As his appearance on BET’s 106th and Park demonstrated, watching him dance is like walking through Harlem in the 1940’s…while bumping a hip-hop beat.

Siobhan Cook (Performer in Thelonious) began her training in Tapestry’s multi-form youth training academy in ballet, rhythm tap, jazz and modern.  During high school she auditioned for Visions and Rhythm, Tapestry’s pre-professional youth company under the direction of Tasha Lawson.  While attending St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, she was a member of Chrysalis Dance Company under the direction of Deirdre Strand, her mother. After graduating high school, Siobhan received a scholarship to Muhlenberg College Dance Department. She realized that rhythm tap was her true passion so she then returned to Austin and was chosen as an apprentice with the professional company.  Since then, she has been a full time professional dancer under the artistic direction of her mentor Acia Gray.  Siobhan has studied with Dianne Walker, Nicholas Young, Michelle Dorrance, Brenda Bufalino, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Dr. Fayard Nicholas, Dr. Arthur Duncan and Dr. Jeni Legon. Siobhan has appeared in premiere works by TDC such as Ears Wide Open, April Fools, and Time.  She was also a part of the NEA funded Souls of Our Feet 2:  A Celebration of American Tap that toured the United States, Canada and China.  She was also the leading female in Matt Shield’s Chronological Life Story of a Few Tap Dancers premiering at Vancouver International Tap Festival. She was Arthur Duncan’s demonstrator at the Montreal Tap Dance Festival in 2013, on faculty in 2014 along with the Toronto Tap Initiative.  Siobhan is also the Artistic Director of Visions In Rhythm, Tapestry's pre-professional training company.

Alex Cowings (Performer in Tap Forward) Born on the Island of St. Croix, in the middle of his parents’ tour of the US Virgin Islands, this multi-dimensional R&B singer, Composer, Producer and Tap Dancer began his career at an early age. Known for sultry and smooth vocals, groove-driven rhythms and an electric, dynamic stage presence, AC Lincoln has been traveling and performing with his family of acclaimed Jazz and R&B singers his whole life. Raised in New York City, Alex or “AC” discovered at the age of 5 an affinity for moving his feet to the beat of a drum. After receiving a special gift of tap shoes from his family, AC quickly became popular on the NYC tap scene sharing the stage with the original "hoofers" of the time and Tap legends such as Peg Leg Bates, Jimmy Slide, Savion Glover, Buster Brown and Henry LaTang. With his definitive style and refined stage presence, AC was soon traveling the world playing festivals and concert halls all throughout his youth. He has headlined a Gala for the NAACP, The Caramoor Jazz Festival and top NY Venues such as The Jazz Standard, Smalls, The Standard Hotel, Rockwood Music Hall and The Friar's Club.  “Multi-talented” – New York Times     “Explosive… crooning… furious bursts of tap dancing” - Notes from the Underground, T Magazine

Josh Davis (Drums - Copasetics Boat Ride/Tap Awards/Tap Forward) currently plays drums for New York based bands The Starlight Girls, Manner Effect, Jonus Preston, The Pocket Band and leads his own jazz trio. On top of playing full-time with these groups he also plays, records and tours with many other bands and projects as a freelancer, spanning many genres. 


Josh also teaches private lessons from his studio in NYC, is full-time faculty at the Larchmont Music Academy, and music accompanist for the Joffrey Ballet School and American Tap Dance Foundation in Manhattan. 

Joe Fonda (Bass - Copasetic Boat Ride/Tap Awards/Tap Forward/Thelonious) is an American jazz bassist and was born in Amsterdam, New York to parents who both played jazz. He played guitar as a youth but switched to bass guitar later on. He studied bass at Berkley College of Music, where he also began playing upright bass. He played in the New Haven, Connecticut area in the early 1980s, and recorded with Wadada Leo Smith. In 1994 he began playing with Anthony Braxton, collaborating with him extensively for the next five years. He and Michael Jefry Stevens co-lead an ensemble, the Fonda-Stevens group that began in 1991 and has continued through 2009. The group has recorded 10 cds and continues to perform extensively in Europe and the United States. Since the late 1990s Fonda has recorded often as a bandleader.


Fonda has also explored dance in relation to jazz music; he played bass with a dance company in the 1980s and incorporated a tap dancer into his ensemble for the albums From the Source and The Healing.

Felipe Galganni ((Performer/Choreography in Tap Forward) Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Felipe Galganni started his training in dance and theater at the age of 10. 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 such great names on the tap scene as Tony Waag, Max Pollak (Rumba Tap), Chikako Iwahori, Lynn Schwab, Ray Hesselink, Michelle Dorrance, and Derick K. Grant. He has also studied under the master Brenda Bufalino and recently performed in one of her newest works. In the nearly 15 years of his career, Felipe has given tap dance lessons at the best schools in Brazil, as well as worldwide for such well-known studios as Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center and the American Tap Dance Foundation in New York City. He is also honored to be auditioning and teaching the summer program of the Joffrey Ballet School in Miami-FL. He has worked as a choreographer in shows and movies. Revealing the unique Brazilian influence in his expression of tap dance, he also develops his own work with his company in New York City. Regarding his piece Fuga, the New York Times writes, “…Felipe Galganni juxtaposed the precision of tap with the curvaceousness of capoeira, the Brazilian martial art. As two crouching, cartwheeling capoeiristas and six tappers wove through one another to Baden Powell’s ‘Berimbau,’ their musicality was contagious." Felipe has performed at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Joseph Papp's Public Theater (Joe's Pub), The NY Summer Stage, The Citigroup Alvin Ailey Theater, The Cotton Club, The Metropolitan Room, The Bronx Museum, The New York City Center, Lavo NYC, Arlington Club, and others. As a Team Leader of New York’s Tap City festival, Felipe was interviewed by NBC Channel 4 in 2014. Follow:  Instagram: @galganni - FB : - Twitter: @FelipeGalganni
Susan Hebach (Choreography in Tap Forward) 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, Tap City, The New York City Tap Festival, and more recently the Rhythm In Motion series at the 14th St. Y in Manhattan. Susan is currently the director of the ATDF Youth Program, as well as the Tap City Youth Ensemble, and the Pre-Professional Program at Tap City. She was featured on the cover of Dance Teacher Magazine in May 2009, and has served on the dance faculty for Oklahoma City University and Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri as visiting guest artist. She has also taught the residency of Pete Nugent's "Breezin" at Tap City in 2008,  & co-curated the Teachers Intensive for the NYC Tap Festival in 2011 & 12, and is part of the teaching team for the new “Tap Teacher Training Program” at ATDF with Margaret Morrison. Susan also wrote a book for an after school young reader series, called “Tap Dance”, by Rosen Publishing. She also recently had the unique opportunity to coach Christine Baranski in "soft shoe", for New York City Center's Encore Series production of "On Your Toes". 
Ray Hesselink (Choreography in Tap Forward) 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.

Jess Jurkovic (Performer in Awards Show & Tap Forward) A native of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Jess Jurkovic is an accomplished performer, composer, arranger, theoretician, writer, and educator. Jess received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, and his Master's degree in Jazz and Commercial Music from Manhattan School of Music. Jess has served as musical director for the American Tap Dance Foundation’s youth concerts for over ten years, as well as Tap City. In addition to his solo piano work, Jess is an integral member of Pedro Giraudo's Sextet and his Expansions Big Band.



Kat Katona (Performer in Tap Forward) At the age of 4, Kat Katona was an unruly child and after one too many pre-school parent teacher conferences, her parents decided dance classes would help contain all that restless energy.  Luckily it was a success and Kat has continued her dance training to this day.  Originally from California, she was a principle member of the Folsom Lake Civic Ballet and Impact Contemporary Dance Company.  She also founded the Musical Theatre Dance Program at El Dorado High School and became an award winning choreographer for local community theater. She later graduated with a BA degree in American Sign Language Interpretation from Columbia College Chicago and is now a nationally certified sign language interpreter. During her time at Columbia, she choreographed for several Deaf theater productions within the ASL department. Kat made the move to New York in 2011 and has studied tap dance with some of the best such as Derick Grant and Ray Hesselink among others. Kat has been lucky to perform in ATDF’s production of “Rhythm in Motion” and was a Shufflette in “Rhythm is Our Business.” She will also be seen in the upcoming production of “Soul Walk” at the New Jersey Tap Festival.  Kat is thrilled to be given the opportunity to be performing in Tap Forward and to be showcasing Ray Hesselink’s choreography with one of the coolest and tallest tap dancers she knows, Aleutian Calabay.
Michela Marino-Lerman (Performer in Thelonious/Copasetic Boat Ride Jam Host) 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.

Daniel Luka (Performer in Thelonious) is a German-born tap dancer living in Düsseldorf. The multi-sided peformer has been working together innovatively with musicians from the jazz and percussion scene in Europe. He is the choreographer and producer of the shows „Feel The Tap“, „Pull It Back!“, and „Down To The Ground“ and created together with tap dancer Pia Neises the contemporary Tap show „60 bpm“ (co-produced by the Tanzhaus NRW, Düsseldorf). His latest show „Tap A Tune“premièred in May 2014 during the international „Tap Ahead Festival“ in Düsseldorf, Germany. He has been dancing in Sarah Petronio's „Monk In Motion“ and has been working together with many well-known musicians and bands, such as the „WDR Big Band“ which created a solo performance for him in 2014 at the „Kölner Philharmonie“ in Cologne. 

Carson Murphy (Performer in Thelonious) has had the fortune to travel the world tap dancing and working with incredible artists.  Recent performances include dancing with Dorrance Dance at the acclaimed Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, with the Hip Tap Project in France throughout fall 2013, 'The Buster Brown Celebration' with Michela Marino-Lerman at Swing 46 in NYC, 'Focal Point' with SoundMovement dance company at the Alvin Aliley Theater in NYC, with Sarah Petronio at the Soul to Sole Tap Festival in Austin, Texas, at  Jacob's Pillow, the Dancespace series at St. Mark's Church and the Chicago Human Rhythm Project as a member of Michelle Dorrance's "Dorrance Dance", as well as dancing with the phenomenal Sarah Petronio, Leela Petronio and Nicholas Young in Sarah's "Jazz in Motion", in Les Ulis, France.

Carson has also performed with and for - Ted Levy, Leela Petronio's Hip Tap Project, Max Pollak's "Rumba Tap", Barbara Duffy and Company, Katherine Kramer, Mable Lee, Michela Marino-Lerman,  Nicholas Young's SoundMovement, Chloe Arnold's "Syncopated Ladies", Tap City, Josh Hilberman, Sarah Savelli, Ayodele Casel, was a part of the original recreation of Harold Cromer's "Opus One", toured the U.S. with Broadway's "42nd Street", has been seen dancing on Times Square's JumboTron and has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine.

Carson is endlessly inspired by these artists and many more, and is eternally grateful to spend her life teaching and dancing.  Carson is the owner and Director of Sound Movement Pilates and Gyrotonic ® in Larchmont, New York.  

Rachna Nivas (Performing in Tap Forward) is a Kathak soloist, principal member of the Chitresh Das Dance Company, and senior teacher at the Chhandam School, one of the largest classical Indian dance institutions in the world.  Rachna is responsible for training and mentoring over a hundred students, including members of the pre-professional Chhandam Youth Dance Company.  Called "charismatic" and "revelatory" by the San Francisco Chronicle, Rachna brings fierce passion and integrity to her performances, displaying the depth of her 17-year study under legendary master Pandit Chitresh Das.  She has performed solo and in leading roles for award-winning productions across India and the U.S, notably at the National Center for Performing Arts in Mumbai, National Center for Kathak Dance in New Delhi, Roy and Edna Disney Cal/Arts and Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Francisco, International Kriya Yoga Congress, and many others.   As an arts activist and leader amongst her generation of artists, Rachna's vision is to raise awareness of the rich history and philosophy of India through the art of kathak and for it to be a tool for empowerment, social justice, and self-actualization.

LeeLa Petronio (Performer in Thelonious) Born and brought up in Paris, LeeLa Petronio is a tap dancer, body percussionist. choreographer, teacher and producer of dance-related events. Part of  the European cast of STOMP since 2001, she founded the Hip Tap Project, a percussive dance ensemble whose work blends rhythm tap, hip hop, body percussion and live music. Leela's eclectic approach has led her to participate in many different projects : performances with the Cirque du Soleil in Italy, a tap concerto performed with a symphonic orchestra at the Paris Opéra Comique, Soul to Sole Festival in Austin, commissioned choreography (New York's "Tap City") for younger dancers at the Joyce Theatre.  She has perfomed for the International Body Music Festival in San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Istanbul and Terni. Special guest performance with the Jazz Tap Ensemble at the Salzburg Jazz Festival and special guest with acclaimed French singer Camille at the Cirque d'Hiver. In 2012, she was part of the Olympics closing ceremonies with STOMP.  In Paris she has performed at the Quai Branly Museum, Jamel Debouze’s Comedy Club, the Festival of Urban Cultures of La Villette, the Centre National de la Danse, the Maison des métallos... LeeLa studied with tap masters Sarah Petronio, Jimmy Slyde and Steve Condos.  She has studied and shared the spotlight with Tap greats Honi Coles, Cholly Atkins. Chuck Green, Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Ted Levy and Lon Chaney at different festivals.  She has performed in "Jazz in Motion" with Sarah Petronio at Jazz clubs and festivals : New Morning in Paris, Tanzhaus nrw in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Barcelona in Europe, "Perth International Arts Festival" in Australia, "Tap Dance Day 2004" at the Kennedy Center in Washington. LeeLa has taught rhythm tap and body music workshops in Europe, Brazil, Senegal, Australia, Turkey Israel, and at many of the international tap festivals in the USA.  In France she works regularly with professional multi-disciplined dancers at the French National Dance Center .
Sarah Petronio (Performer/Choreographer in Thelonious) was born and raised in India. She immigrated to New York at the age of 19 and later moved to Paris, France, where she became the dancing partner of Tap Legend Jimmy Slyde for a short while in the '70's. The duo performed in “It's About Time - an evening of tap and jazz” at concerts, and Jazz festivals. A master teacher and performer and a major force in introducing rhythm tap to French audiences, Petronio founded the Gît-le-Coeur Cultural Center, the Paris Tap Dance Company and the Tap Dance Department of the American Center in Paris. In 1994, she joined the faculty of the Dance Center of Columbia College in Chicago and created the “Chicago on Tap" festival. She has appeared at festivals in New York, Colorado, Portland, Boston, Texas, Saint Louis, Kansas, Montana, Chicago, Israel, Hamburg, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Tokyo, Russia, Spain, Netherlands...Sarah has been the recipient of Russia’s Tapparade award for Recognition of Accomplishments in Teaching and Performing Tap Dancing, The Lexington Tapestry award for teaching with passion, dedication and inspiration, The Soul to Sole award for Timeless Dedication to the Art of Tap Dancing and the 2005 Hoofer award at New York's Tap City Festival. In 2007, she was requested by the French National Dance Center to teach the prestigious “La Grande Léçon” giving the audience an intimate, inside look at a master teacher at work. She has appeared in the film “Honi Coles, A Class Act” and has been a part of several French television documentaries on Tap Dancing including “Les Claquettes, quel pied!” She has broken ground as a woman in the jazz world, bringing her special style of rhythms and improvisation to jazz clubs and jazz festivals: Umbria Jazz, Jazz Yatra India, Juan les Pins, Antibes, Avignon, Cannes, Ravinia, Fremantle Jazz.. Sarah has shared the stage with Gregory Hines, Honi Coles, Steve Condos, Lon Chaney, Chuck Green, the Nicholas Brothers, LaVaughn Robinson, Savion Glover, Brenda Bufalino, Dianne Walker, Lynn Dally, Acia Gray and many other very talented tap dancers...Currently residing in Paris, she regularly performs her “Jazz In Motion”©, “When Tap Meets Jazz”© and “Tap Messengers”© concerts with Leela Petronio, and guest artists, accompanied by some of Europe's finest musicians. She continues to conduct intensive master classes for dancers and teachers.
Max Pollak ((Performer in Awards Show & Tap Forward), named one of the "25 to Watch in 2007" by Dance Magazine, was inspired by the virtuosic footwork displayed by many of the greats in American film, and most importantly, jazz music. A native of Austria, he has been tapping since the age of 11, and playing drums and percussion since the age of 14. At age 17 Max was first exposed to the African American style of rhythm tap when seventy-one-year-old Carnell Lyons became his first mentor. Lyons, a Kansas City-born childhood friend of Charlie Parker, had toured the world successfully as a member of the vaudeville acrobatic tap act "Jesse, James and Carnell". Settling in West Berlin in the 1960s, Lyons became the pioneer of rhythm tap pedagogy in Europe. While completing his theater degree at the Theater-an-der-Wien Musical Theater School in Vienna, from 1988-1990, Pollak became an accomplished professional drummer and tap improviser. After working in several large musical theater productions in Germany and Austria, including one under the direction of Broadway choreographer Michael Shawn, he moved to New York City at the invitation of Heather Cornell, artistic director of the Bebop tap quartet Manhattan Tap. His tenure with the company lasted until 1997. During the early 1990s, the most important breeding ground for emerging tap talent was the weekly tap jam session hosted by tap legends Dr. Jimmy Slyde, Dr. Buster Brown, Chuck Green, and Lon Chaney at the New York City jazz club La Cave. Pollak was a regular, taken under the wing of the masters. For three years, he also co-hosted a weekly tap jam session at the East Village club Deanna's. Pollak also furthered his musical studies in jazz at New York's prestigious New School, graduating in May 1995. It was Latin percussion master Bobby Sanabria, though, who introduced Pollak to the earth shattering power and spiritual depth of Afro-Cuban music. Pollak soon began incorporating elements of Afro-Cuban jazz and folkloric music in his performances, developing the concept he calls "RumbaTap", a melding of Afro-Cuban music and dance, American jazz, body percussion, and tap dance. One of Pollak's crowning achievements was to receive a grant from Arts International in 2001 to help establish Cuba's first tap festival in Havana. Today Pollak is recognized worldwide as the creator of "RumbaTap." So respected is Pollak for this concept that his performances, teaching schedule, university lectures, and residencies take him throughout the US, Europe, Asia, Central and South America. Pollak has published articles on tap dance in several international publications and is the 2008 recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Choreography.
Sarah Reich (Performer in Tap Forward) is a performer, choreographer and instructor who has emerged as one of the new leaders in the Art Form of Tap Dance. At the young age of 15, this Los Angeles native was featured in Dance Spirit Magazine’s article, “20 Hot Tappers Under 20” and was named one of the “25 To Watch” in the 2009 Dance Magazine article. Ever since, Sarah has been sought after to perform, choreograph, and teach in over thirteen countries outside of the United States including France, Spain, China, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Honduras, Belgium, Canada, Sweden, Croatia, Taiwan, and Australia. Sarah was most recently seen on Season 11 of FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance with Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies and returned as the Winner of the Dance Crew Battle from Episode #1 to perform live on the show. With her own company, Tap Music Project, she choreographed and performed at the Ford Amphitheatre, UCLA’s JazzReggae Festival and the LA County Holiday Celebration. Sarah was also a performer at Madison Square Garden for the opening of the NY Knicks 2013-2014 season. In addition to her vast international travels and countless television appearances, Sarah has had the honor to perform at some of the most prestigious venues back home in Los Angeles such as The Hollywood Bowl, the Ford Amphitheatre, the Greek Theater with Mexican Pop-Star, Cristian Castro and the Kodak Theater with the great Herbie Hancock. Currently Sarah is developing new exciting works with her company, Tap Music Project and Sole Sisters – a collaboration with Melinda Sullivan. Sarah produces a weekly class/tap jam for the Los Angeles tap community, Monday Night Tap Experience. She also frequently performs around the city with popular local bands, Magnolia Memoir, Oskar Cartaya's Latin Jazz Band and Dessy DiLauro.

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Melinda Sullivan (Performer in Tap Forward) In 2009, she played Zoe Finn in the American soap opera As The World Turns. The following year, she finished 9th place in the seventh season of the U.S. version of So You Think You Can Dance. Melinda has also toured with Emmy-Award winner Jason Samuels Smith's A.C.G.I. tap company, which blends an improvisational style with tap dance choreography. Recently, Melinda's dancing and choreography on her work "Gone" won Dance Teacher magazine's Capezio A.C.E. Award and its $15,000 production budget to create a show in New York. "In weathered boots and dresses that could have crossed the plains in a covered wagon, six tap dancers not only drill it down with their feet, they use their full bodies to convey loss and grief", wrote Dance Magazine. "'Gone' is a moody work that blends the drama of modern dance with the heart-pumping thrill of rhythm tap." The magazine named her among the "25 to Watch" for 2013. An expanded version, Gone: A Sound and Theater Project, debuted at New York's Ailey Citigroup Theater on August 5, 2013, with a new score by Nikos Syropoulos. The Melinda Sullivan Dance Project has also been featured at the Pasadena Dance Festival, Dance For LIfe Palm Springs, and most recently at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT). Ms. Sullivan is on facultly at Trudi Zipper Dance Institute at The Colburn School, and travels the US with New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA).
Syncopated Ladies (Performing in Tap Forward) is a Female Tap Dance Band created by critically acclaimed DC native tap dancer and choreographer, Chloe Arnold and features world renowned tap dancers Maud Arnold (Duke Ellington Alum), Sarah, Reich, Anissa Lee, Pamela Yasutake, Melissa Tannus, and Melinda Sullivan. Discovered at an early age in Washington, DC by legendary choreographer Debbie Allen, Chloe has since gone on to perform on stages around the globe (in 27 countries and over 35 states), worked with celebrated artists including Beyonce, and appeared on national TV shows like “Dancing with the Stars”, "America's Got Talent" and “Boardwalk Empire.” Chloe formed Syncopated Ladies to create a platform for women to have a strong and impacting voice in the Art Form of Tap Dance. Syncopated Ladies viral video hit "Beyonce Tap Salute" was shared by Beyonce herself ("They Killed It”) which led them to their appearance on Season 11 of FOX's So You Think You Can Dance as the winner of the dance crew battle. Most recently they performed in "Syncopated Ladies: Live in DC" at The Howard Theatre and had a sold-out concert, “Syncopated Ladies: Live in NYC” as part of the CUNY Dance Initiative at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater. Other credits include: Dizzy Feet Foundation/Share, Inc. “Dancing With The All-Stars”, Nigel Lythgoe’s Dizzy Feet Foundation “Celebration of Dance” Gala, DanceOn's SPOTLIGHT, Dancescape L.A.’s 10th Anniversary Showcase, B.B. Kings in New York City, the Annual DC Tap Fest, and a star-studded gala hosted by Diddy & Debbie Allen at The Howard Theatre.
Tamango Van Cayseele Stanislas (Performer in Thelonious) is a dancer, musician and painter whose revolutionary approach to tap transforms his dance into music with a sharpened sense of style and awe-inspiring fluidity. Born in Cayenne, French Guiana, Tamango moved to Paris at age eight and began a formal education in art. He started tap dancing in his early 20's at the American Center in Paris and entered the renowned school of Beaux Arts in Paris before moving to America in the mid 80's. His first major performances in the early 1990's included The Majesty of Tap at Lincoln Center, New York; Philippe Decoufle’s 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville; and the Opera de Paris in Peut-on Dancer un Paysage, directed by Min Tanaka and Karel Appel.  He has shared the stage with dance legends Gregory Hines, Bunny Briggs, Jimmy Slyde, Chuck Green, Buster Brown, Lon Chaney, Sarah Petronio, Tina Pratt and Savion Glover. Tamango has collaborated with musicians Bobby McFerrin, David Murray, Chucho Valdes, Christian McBride, Barry Harris, Charlie Hunter, Richard Bona, Cheikh Tidiane Seck, Elvin Jones, Giovanni Hidalgo, Zakir Hussein and gnawa master Mahmoud Guinea. In 2002, Tamango was featured in a documentary about his life on the French-German television channel ARTE. He appeared in Stomp's Imax film, Pulse, and on RFO Guyane national Television.  He has also performed in a music video with Tony Bennett. Tamango was a featured performer in the American and Australian productions of Riverdance in 1996. He co-directed and collaborated with hip hop master Rennie Harris on a production titled Cool Heat, Urban Beat which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and toured throughout the world.  A master tap dancer, Tamango incorporates a unique blend of jazz tap and Afro Caribbean dance which the press has recognized as his signature style. For over 15 years, Tamango has been a major force in the downtown New York City scene performing at underground joints and clubs like SOB's, The Cooler, P.S. 122, Metropolis and the Supper Club.  He later developed his work into URBAN TAP, a full ensemble evening bringing together a global mix of dancers and musicians in tap, capoeira, hip hop, jazz, Afro-Caribbean and other styles -- presented at The Kitchen in 1999 and for which he received a Bessie/New York Dance and Performance Award (2000). While he continues to tour with Urban Tap, Tamango is also engaged in starting a center for creative activity in his native French Guiana. In 2005 he was the sole tap dancer to receive the Kennedy Center Masters of African American Dance Award, and the youngest recipient. His latest work is Bay Mo Dilo (Give Me Water), based on the rhythms and mythology of his Creole culture. In 2007-08, Tamango was a guest artist in the French production of In Search of Josephine, a project bridging the times of Josephine Baker and “La Revue Nègre” with modern day political strife and racism issues revolving around New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. At the invitation of the Kodo Drummers of Japan, Tamango and his company were invited to the 2006 Earth Celebration – a three day pilgrimage to Sado Island, Japan – home of the Drummers and site of this annual celebration. The collaboration and melding of the two companies drew record crowds and Tamango was invited to return in 2007 for their 20th Anniversary and collaborate with artists throughout the world. Another recent project, Stepping Out, was a co-production of Urban Tap and the International Dance Festival Ireland. This project brought together traditional Irish musicians (fiddle, accordion, guitar) and a sean nos step dancer, Seosamh O’Neactain from the Connomara territory with a bongo player from Haiti, a jazz trumpeter from Italy and Tamango. For a week of collaboration leading into 3 sold out performances, the group closed the annual festival in Dublin with great success.

Caleb Teicher (Performer in Tap Forward) is a 2011 Bessie Award Winner for Outstanding Individual Performance and was listed on Dance Magazine's 2012 "25 to Watch." He is a founding member of Dorrance Dance and also dances with The Chase Brock Experience. Other dance credits include work with Syncopated City Dance Company, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Cartier Williams, Richard J. Hinds, Camille A. Brown, Igal Perry, and iLuminate. Favorite musical theatre credits include Irma La Douce (City Center Encores!) and West Side Story (International Tour).

Caleb's choreography has been presented at many events including the Capezio A.C.E. Awards, BC Beat, Choreographer's Canvas, On Tap @ Joe's Pub, Conrad Tao's UNPLAY Festival, and the Wheatland Music Festival. His work has been commissioned by Chicago Tap Theatre, and he is currently an Artist in Residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation.  Caleb is on faculty at CAP21 and he is a proud alum of The School at Jacob's Pillow and the YoungArts Foundation.


Tony Waag (Performer in Awards Show) founded the American Tap Dance Foundation in 2001 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

Baakari Wilder (Performer in Thelonious) is internationally known for starring in the Broadway musical Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk where he received a Bessie Award for his performance. His dancing has delighted audiences in places such as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, France, Africa, Germany, Japan, and Russia. He appeared in Spike Lee's Bamboozled, and Discovery Channel’s “Time Warp”.  Baakari has a BA degree in theatre from the University of Maryland at College Park. He is assistant artistic director of the Washington D.C. based company “Capitol Tap”. Baakari has been recently named the 2014 Pola Nirenska Award recipient for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.