The Blues Project Talking Points

April 29, 2015

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

  • Michelle Dorrance founded Dorrance Dance in 2011, and aims to push the boundaries and history of tap dance.
  • Dorrance’s work has won a host of prestigious awards, including a Bessie Award(2011) and a Princess Grace Award for Choreography(2012).
  • She has been studying tap since the age of four, beginning in her home town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Since then, performing has taken her across the globe with notable performances at the Cannes Film Festival, 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and The Nijinsky Awards.
  • The show features Toshi Reagon and her band, BIGLovely, who will be performing original blues music composed specifically for the program.
  • Tonight’s work “The Blues Project” was debuted at Jacob’s Pillow Dance in western Massachusetts.
  • Janine Parker of the Boston Globe remarked, “With a cast of nine dancers and five musicians, the approximately hourlong “Project” isn’t a linear history lesson but a potpourri of set pieces evocative of bygone eras.”
  • “The Blues Project” draws upon influences from multiple genres of both music and dance.
  • Historically speaking, tap dance has its early roots in the rhythmic percussive qualities of both African tribal dances and clog dances of the United Kingdom. In the 1800’s, tap’s main venue were minstrel and vaudeville showcases.  Modern tap dance, characterized by the metal taps on the toes and heels of shoes, didn’t emerge until the 1920’s.  (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
  • The show features Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards who was Michael Jackson’s tap coach for 11+ years
  • Another featured tappers is Derick K. Grant, creator of the critically acclaimed show Imagine Tap
The Blues Project Talking Points