Tap 'o the world
"Break the Floor" shakes up the tap form with a large cast of young dancers who bring together rock and roll energy and creative new ideas.
By SARAH CARLSON
Within dance, itself a marginal performing art, tap is often further sidelined as superficial, musical theater embellishment. Tap has always had to strive to be taken seriously and break free from the classic, but dated, Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers mold. Gil Stroming's exhilarating tap powerhouse, Break the Floor, is a brazen attempt to do just that. Combining live rock music with stunningly precise rhythms and technique, Stroming achieves an impressively innovative mix of tap and contemporary culture that connects tap to a new generation.
On a barren stage, 10 vivacious little girls get the program underway with an ensemble tap sequence that is as polished as it is endearing. Ponytails swinging and shoulders shaking, the child tappers call themselves Kah-put and fill the space with their infectious, jubilant energy. A makeshift DJ spins a funky pop beat and when the song ends, the stage goes black and a booming voice declares "Isn't tap exciting? . . . It is now."
|BREAK THE FLOOR|
|Dancers: Lauren Binkowski, Mandi Bryan, Tatiana Cardenas, Katie Carroll, Chris Erk, Greg Farkas, Tricia Holland, Ricci Milan, Mike Schulster, Orialis Serrano, Jeffrey and Gil Stroming.|
Created by Gil Stroming, featuring about two dozen dancers.
Related links: Official site
|Henry Street Settlement|
466 Grand Street near Pitt
Aug. 10-26, 2001
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Break the Floor
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Enter the big kids, twenty-something guys and girls with enough adrenaline to quake the stage with the force of their feet. Lauren Binkowski, Mandi Bryan, Tatiana Cardenas, Katie Carroll, Chris Erk, Greg Farkas, Tricia Holland, Ricci Milan, Mike Schulster, Orialis Serrano, Jeffrey and Gil Stroming ooze youthful charisma as they pound through their steps with sexy abandon. Center stage features a lone tapper on an underlit platform in silhouette. A poetry/tap mosaic, a mouth percussion/tap showdown, and a water jug drumming bonanza are just a few of the inventive combinations of rhythms that the cast delivers with a natural ease that belies the intensive rehearsal necessary to achieve such intricate unison. Raw and exposed, the stage offers no manufactured distraction to compete with the captivating precision choreography.
A live band infuses its electric reverberations offering yet another vehicle for rhythmic interplay, although the tapping can barely be heard above the din of the instruments. Fog machines and shifting colored spotlights designed by Melanie Lipka work to enhance the rock concert aura. Straightforward and ambitious, Gil Stroming and his clan announce their mission: "We want to dance to rock and roll. We want to be the first tap music video on MTV." An off-Broadway run, Stroming admits in his Fringe flyer summary, would be a nice second, and he says the show is scheduled to reappear at the Apollo Theater this winter.
"Break the Floor" is uninhibited, audacious and offers the inspiration of artful triumph. It is rhythm fully realized.
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|AUGUST 26, 2001|
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Reader comments on Break the Floor:
dance from lisa, Apr 26, 2003
omg from alysia colandrea, Dec 22, 2005
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