THE TAP PRESERVATION AWARD

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Susan Goldbetter
2007 Tap Preservation Award Recipient

Susan Goldbetter is the founder, producer, and Executive Director of Circuit Productions, Inc. (CPI), a not for profit arts organization created in 1986 with the mission to inspire, entertain, and educate underserved audiences in the New York Metropolitan area through performances, public classes, workshops, and arts education programs; featuring senior artists who are living legends of the City’s rich legacy of tap, jazz and world and ethnic music, as well as emerging talent in these fields.

Susan was a protégé of tap legend Charles “Cookie” Cook. After seeing him and the Copasetics in 1979 at an once-in-a-lifetime performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music she was a tap devotee. From 1980 to Cook’s death in 1991 she was his tap student, archivist, historian, manager and producer. Together, they produced a unique series of lecture performances entitled “Evenings With Charles Cook and Friends,” which featured legendary dancers, singers and entertainers from Harlem’s golden age, some of whom had not performed since the 1930's and 40's. Susan has performed at the Smithsonian Institute, Lincoln Center, the Studio Museum in Harlem and Aaron Davis Hall. She co-produced a series of the “Friends” highlighting the work of James “Buster” Brown, Harriet “Quicksand” Browne, Ernest “Brownie” Brown, Marion Coles, Leon Collins, Tina Pratt, Mable Lee and Chuck Green. Susan presented a series of tap and jazz ‘salons’ she created with Cookie bringing aboard vocalists, vaudevillians and jazz musicians Al Hibbler, Rose Chi Chi Murphy, Leeta Harris Nelson and younger artists including Mickey Davidson, Hank Smith, Heather Cornell and Lynn Cataldo.

As a video producer Susan worked with director Skip Blumberg on the award winning PBS Television video short, “Essentials of Tap Technique,” which featured Cookie, Brenda Bufalino and Kevin Ramsey. She produced, archived and donated all of Cook’s tap video performances – including the video documentary “Cookie’s Scrapbook” to the Dance Collection at Lincoln Center and the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture. She was the curator of the multi-media exhibition “Cookie’s Harlem: A Tap Dancer’s World” which was shown at the Museum of the City of New York in 1995, reaching over 100,000 new and seasoned tap fans. With over 30 years experience as an arts educator Susan holds an MA in Television Production, was an Adj. Associate Professor of Speech/Theatre at CUNY, LaGuardia Community College for 23 years, and has developed pilot dance and music education programs with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, CUNY/LAG, Long Island University, the New York City Department of Education and the Brooklyn, Queens and New York Public Libraries. Susan continues to advocate for the accomplishments of senior artists and was delighted when City Lore’s 2004 “People’s Hall of Fame” award went to Tina Pratt and the Swinging Seniors. In 2005 Susan received a grant for Tina Pratt and jazz pianist, Sarah McLawler through the International Tap Association and the Network of Cultural Centers of Color. Through this unique collaboration, Circuit Productions received a Ford Foundation/Doris Duke Foundation re-grant to present “Jazzing Women:  A Celebration of Tap and Jazz Legends”, which was co-produced with tap/interdisciplinary artist, Professor Ann Kilkelly at Virginia Tech University.

Currently, Susan is producing “Rhythm Journeys:  Masters of Jazz and World Music” with a grant from the NYS Music Fund, established by the NYS Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. For complete event schedule contact: circuit635@earthlink.net or www.circuitproductions.org.

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