Rhythm World 30

July 26 – August 14, 2021

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Jumaane Taylor
Artistic Director
 

America’s oldest and most comprehensive festival of tap – is BACK and under the direction of Jumaane Taylor, a visionary and accomplished teacher, performer, choreographer and producer. Taylor has reimagined this year’s anniversary festival to offer three weeks of rhythm bending, in-person education and performance programs by a new ensemble of teaching and performing artists. Classes will return to Chicago’s historic Fine Arts Building with concerts at Navy Pier’s Lake Stage, Jazz Showcase, the Black Legislator’s Theater a the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Edlis Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

All programs are LIVE and IN PERSON. All programs are limited to 20 participants unless COVID-19 protocols are updated to allow higher occupancy rates.

Students will be asked to verify whether they have been or intend to be vaccinated at least two weeks prior to their first class.

CHRP will comply with all City, State and Federal mandates related to vaccination status, room and theater occupancy as well as rigorous cleaning protocols.

This year’s festival spans three completely distinct weeks and attendees, other than those enrolled in the American Tap Conservatory (ATC), may come for one, two or all three weeks. ATC attendees may choose to enroll for either the first and second week, or the second and third week.

Please contact us at registration@chicagotap.org or 312-542-2477.

American Tap Conservatory

July 26 – August 7

OR

August 2 – August 14

Attendees of our newly established American Tap Conservatory will have the opportunity to experience it all. ATC attendees may choose to enroll for either the first and second week, or the second and third week. Beginning each week at the Jazz Showcase, ATC students will have the opportunity to jam with live musicians, engage in discussions with treasured members of the tap community, and perform works learned throughout the ATC program – displaying the brilliance of this year’s invited teachers and choreographers. This is an invitation into the life of a professional tap dancer, consistently learning while sharpening all knowledge on tap.

Masterclasses

Monday, July 26 – Friday, July 30
 

Masterclasses are 80-minute, one-time classes with a single teacher. Choose from 10 advanced and 10 intermediate classes.

All up to the “master” in the room. The masterclass is an audition style setting. Meaning, you pick up whatever they put down. This week’s faculty will share their masterful ideas with warmups, traveling phrases, a combination, or all of the above but particularly structured for the students in that room. Be aware of what artistry these tap masters share with you . . .  it will take you a step closer to understanding this art form. With Robyn Watson, Jumaane Taylor, Jason Janas and Karissa Royster.

Fees: $25 per master class

Choreography Residency

August 9 – August 14

Four classes per day for 5 consecutive days.

What does it mean to choreograph tap? When we are choreographing, is it tap or something else with tap? During this residency, students will be “in the room” with 4 of the most defining voices of our field. These powerful voices arrange rhythm for the feet, so that the body and spirit can be fulfilled. Here we teach you how to compose or choreograph for tap, strategically creating a rhythmical flow that complements the music, but also exemplifies a full range of vocabulary. Within the works shared this week, you will learn how to build for this dance, fitting for the concert stage. WIth Ian Berg, Christina Carminucci, Maurice Chestnut and Sarah Savelli.


Fees: $500

Intermediate & Advanced Courses

Spend five consecutive days with the teachers of your choice. Each course runs seven hours over five days.

Learn something to stay with you on your tap journey. The classic festival ‘course’ where you are guaranteed to take something home. Maybe it’s a phrase that catches your ear or a longer rhythmic composition that will become helpful for your eternal rhythmic experience. Building off those artists’ ideas, rather than just memorizing routines would be the focus here.

Fees: $125 per course

July 26 – 30
 

Youth Tap Ensemble Conference

Monday, August 2 – Friday, August 7
 

The Youth Tap Ensemble Conference will include: technique classes with drills that embed muscle memory in young dancers for more advanced technical work, an ensemble performance on August 7 at the Black Legislator’s Theater at the DuSable Museum of African American History, historical and contemporary video footage assignments as well as improvisation. YTEC introduces youth ensemble members and serious younger dancers to professional life. Participating ensembles will learn tap choreography built for an ensemble that teaches members to listen to each other, and to learn from one another on the dance floor, creating a more conscious tap dancer for the next generation. With Caleb Teicher, Kaleena Miller, Naomi Funaki and the legendary Ivery Wheeler.
 

Fees: $500

Teacher Certification

Monday, August 9 – Friday, August 14

What should teachers teach? There are some technical standards that most tap dancers agree on. There are also certain advancements in the techniques that may be new or less well known to many teachers. The week of the ‘Teachers Certification’ will update you on where we are in tap. Technically and rhythmically. Incorporating and connecting with those important standards, while also learning how to incorporate some historical archives into our lessons. Discussing how they can apply what they’re learning to their curriculum. This year’s faculty includes Ian Berg, Maurice Chestnut, Christina Carminucci and Sarah Savelli.

The Teacher’s Certification Program, now in its 4th year, can be attended regardless of attendance during previous years. Teachers attending a single year receive a Certificate of Completion and those attending four consecutive years receive a Master Teacher Certification.

 

Fees $500

 

Rhythm World 30 to Feature 6 Unique Performances at 4 Iconic Chicago Venues . . . 

 
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3 Unique Nights at the Jazz Showcase  806 S. Plymouth Court

Tuesdays – July 27, Aug 3 and 10 at 7:00 PM

Each live performances from Chicago’s historic Jazz Showcase will feature a different ensemble of renowned tap dance artists and special guests accompanied by the Eric Hochberg Trio with Vijay Tellis-Nayak and Tim Mulvenna. Complete information and tickets available June 19.

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Navy Pier’s Polk Bros Park LAKE STAGE 

Wednesday, July 28, at 7:00 PM

LIVE performance at Navy Pier’s Polk Bros Park Lake Stage, this performance will feature Jason Janas, Karissa Royster, Jumaane Taylor, Robyn Watson and special guests. Enjoy a beautiful evening on Chicago’s spectacular Lake Stage lawn on your socially distanced picnic blanket.

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Black Legislator’s Theater – DuSable Museum of African American History

Saturday, August 7, at 7:00 PM

Make a day of your visit to Washington Park. Visit the DuSable Museum’s newest exhibit in the breathtaking Roundhouse, enjoy a picnic in the park or your favorite South Side restaurant and then head to the Black Legislator’s Theater for a ground shaking night of rhythm with Ivery Wheeler, Caleb Teicher, Naomi Funaki, Kaleena Miller and special guests. Make a night of it!

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JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Saturday, August 14, at 7:00 PM

Virtuosos from the concert, Broadway and commercial stage gather to present the festival finale concert accompanied by the Eric Hochberg Trio. Leading lights from the global tap community gather to share intimate and boisterous works to live jazz — a festival tradition for 30 years.

 

Jumaane Taylor

Jumaane Taylor, a Chicago native, has been tap dancing since the age of 7 and made his professional debut in 2001 with the tap company M.A.D.D. Rhythms. He has been part of the ensemble in Imagine Tap! (directed and choreographed by Derick Grant); Tap Into Peace (directed and choreographed by Sarah Savelli and Ayodele Casel); and Rasta Thomas’ Tap Stars, that performed in Hamburg, Germany. In 2015, Jumaane created Supreme Love. A dance production honoring John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ and the art of tap with live musicians, premiering at jazz music and dance festivals including Jacob’s Pillow in 2017. In 2018 he presented The Jazz Hoofing Quartet, a solo dance performance using improvisation to continue the progressive exploration of live music and tap. Jumaane has received the Chicago Dancemakers Forum 2017 Lab Artist Award, 3Arts 2019 Award, and has performed his work for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jazz Institute of Chicago, and abroad. He teaches at T.E.S. Arts, Ruth Page School of Dance and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

 

Christina Carminucci

Christina Carminucci, born and raised in New Jersey, is a New York City based tap dancer. As a youth she trained as a multidisciplinary dancer at her local studio, seeking out further tap dance training at BDC, STEPS, and ATDF (Tap City Youth Ensemble). While earning her BBA in Arts and Entertainment Management at Pace University, Christina was fortunate enough to study extensively under the mentorship of Derick K Grant. She can now be found performing, choreographing, producing, and teaching.   

This proud Jacob’s Pillow Tap Program alumna has appeared in works by many of today’s greats, including Dormeshia, Derick K Grant, Brenda Bufalino, Michelle Dorrance (Dorrance Dance) and Sarah Reich (Tap Music Project). Over the years Christina has performed throughout the NYC area both in acclaimed venues (The Joyce Theater, Duke on 42nd, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New Victory Theater, and Brooklyn Academy of Music), and on reputable award show stages, including the New York City Capezio A.C.E Awards and the 2016 Bessie Awards.

   “Nucci” toured internationally as an ensemble member of Christopher Erk’s Tap Factor aboard the MS Europa 2 of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Interested in creating her own work, the Mare Nostrum Elements 2019 Emerging Choreographer co-produced “On That Note” (2016-2018), self-produced her one-woman show “When the Smoke Clears” (2019), and most recently, launched “The Solidarity Series”. Passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of the art form, she teaches regularly at Steps on Broadway in NYC and at various workshops around the world.

 

Ian Berg

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Ian Berg is a Boston-based tap dancer originally from Chicago, Illinois with training and performance experience in tap dance, ballet, modern dance, jazz, and contact improvisation. In high school, Ian trained at the Joffrey Academy in Chicago while also dancing with renowned Chicago based tap company MADD Rhythms. Ian is also an alumnus of The School at Jacob’s Pillow and the Boston Conservatory with a BFA in Contemporary Dance Performance. Ian is a current student of master tap dancer Dianne Walker and teacher of the Leon Collins Repertoire.

Ian is currently an adjunct professor at Endicott College, Emerson College and Boston University as well as a guest lecturer at Tufts University teaching tap dance practice and history. He has received recognition as a choreographer from The Yard where he was named a 2019 Bessie Schonberg Fellow, The Boston Foundation where he was named a 2019 Next Steps Awardee and The Massachusetts Cultural Council who named him a 2020 Choreography Fellow. 

Since founding Subject:Matter in 2015, the company has created and performed almost 20 different pieces in over 50 different venues across the East Coast, Midwest and Canada. Venues include: Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, The Inside/Out Stage at Jacob’s Pillow, Joe’s Pub in New York City, House of Blues Boston, Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, The Montreal Fringe Festival, Stage 773 in Chicago, Illinois and a residency at MASS MoCA.

 

Naomi Funaki

Naomi Funaki is a New York based dancer from Tokyo Japan. She started tap dancing at the age of 7, under the mentorship of Noboru Sato at Sugar Foot Dance Studio in Tokyo Japan. Naomi moved from student status to company member at the studio After 6 years of training. At the age of 14, Naomi got a renewed sense of seriousness for the art of tap dancing after watching the performance of “Traveling Souls” by Yuji Uragami, Ron II and Yoshiko Hida at the National Tap Day festival in Tokyo. This performance inspired her young mind, and the more she learned about the history and culture of tap dance, the more she fell in love with the craft. In July 2014, Naomi auditioned and got selected for the Japan Tap dance Scholarship program New York 2014. The program, Tap City, hosted by the American Tap Dance Foundation, provided Naomi with the opportunity to further develop her skills with professional teachers. Naomi fell in love with New York and the opportunity for growth that New York provided talented dancer.

In May 2018 Naomi became a debut member of Dorrance Dance second company led by Michelle Dorrance. She performed with Dorrance Dance for Nutcracker as a guest artist at the Joyce Theater. She also met Ayodele Casel early 2019 whilst working as a swing dancer for City Center ON THE MOVE tour. She performed on stage with Ayodele Casel and Star Dixon for “Dance Against Cancer”, choreographed by Ayodele Casel. In October 2019, she reunited with Ayodele Casel for the “Ayodele Casel + Arturo O’Farrill” show at the Joyce theater NYC. The show was nominated for the Best highlight of 2019 by the New York Times. Naomi is also a company member of the Music from The Sole led by Leonardo Sandoval and Gregory Richardson.

Naomi currently resides in New York City where she continues to work on various tap dance projects. Other notable performances: Vail Dance Festival, Fall for Dance, In the Groove directed by Dormeshia, Rhythm in Motion, Shhhh…and Beats directed by Alexander Macdonald, Battery Dance Festival, The Yard, Young Chreographer Festival, Youtube Broad Cast Event. At venues including Lincoln Center, New York City Center, Radio City Music Hall, Apollo Theater, Guggenheim museum, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Segerstrom Concert Hall.

After completing high school in Japan, Naomi returned to New York in 2016 to further her career in tap dance. She started out in the International Independent Study Program of Steps on Broadway 2016 training under Derick Grant, Barbara Duffy and Lynn Schwab. In 2017, Naomi auditioned and got selected for Jacob’s Pillow as a student of the tap dance program. At Jacob’s Pillow she was under the instruction of tap dancers like Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards amongst others. After the Jacob’s Pillow Tap dance program, with more advanced tap-dancing skills, Naomi got selected to be a working professional dancer of Caleb Teicher & Company with performances at Union Square Park NYC in the summer of 2017. Since then, she has been dancing with the company. In the fall of the same year, she did a solo performance at the Apollo theater NYC. She also got to dance as an ensemble member for “Raising the Bar” of the Tap Family Reunion 2018 directed by Dormeshia Sumbry, Derick Grant and Jason Samuels Smith.

 

Caleb Teicher

Caleb Teicher is an NYC-based dancer and choreographer specializing in musically-driven dance traditions and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Teicher began their career as a founding member of Michelle Dorrance’s critically-acclaimed tap dance company, Dorrance Dance, while also freelancing in contemporary dance (The Chase Brock Experience, The Bang Group), Lindy Hop (Syncopated City Dance Company), and musical theater (West Side Story International Tour and London).

Since founding Caleb Teicher & Company (CT&Co) in 2015, Teicher’s creative work has expanded to engagements and commissions across the US and abroad including The Joyce Theater, New York City Center, the Guggenheim Museum (NYC and Bilbao), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and Lincoln Center Out of Doors. When live performance resumes, Caleb’s work will be presented in over a dozen cities across the United States.

Teicher is known for choreographic collaborations with diverse musical talents: creating full collaborations for CT&Co with world-champion beatboxer Chris Celiz and composer/pianist Conrad Tao; performing as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center; recording percussion and vocals for television with Ben Folds; and choreographing Regina Spektor’s residency on Broadway.

Caleb is the recipient of a 2019 New York City Center Choreographic Fellowship, two Bessie Awards, a 2019 Harkness Promise Award, and a 2019 NEFA National Dance Project Production Grant. Their work has been featured by The New York Times, NPR, Forbes, Vogue, Interview Magazine, on the cover of Dance Magazine and, most recently, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert alongside Regina Spektor.

 

Caleb continues to engage with dance communities as a teacher for international tap, swing, and jazz dance festivals.

 

Ted Louis Levy

Ted’s professional training began in Chicago with Mrs. Shirley Hall Bass and Mr. Finis Henderson II, Master Tap Dancer and former manager of Sammy Davis Jr.. Mr. Henderson encouraged Ted to pursue a professional career in the performing arts, which began at The Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Mr. Levy made his Broadway debut in the smash hit Black & Blue. He collaborated with George C. Wolfe and Gregory Hines on the Choreography of Jelly’s Last Jam, for which he received a TONY NOMINATION, DRAMA DESK NOMINATION and the 1993 OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD. Ted was awarded an EMMY AWARD for his television debut performance in the PBS Special Precious Memories, and appeared in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X for his film debut.

 

His production of Ted Levy and Friends, directed by Gregory Hines, celebrated Ted as one of America’s premier Tap Dance Artists. Influenced by Mr. Hines, Ted acquired his directorial debut as Director of Savion Glover’s, Dancing Under The Stars at the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Delacorte Theater. He also assisted in the choreography of Broadway’s Tony Award winning hit Bring In ‘Da Noise! Bring In ‘Da Funk! Ted appeared in the movie Bojangles with Gregory Hines, returning to Broadway as Papa Jack in Susan Stroman & Harry Conick Jr.’s Thou Shalt Not. Ted portrayed the roll of The Mikado in The Ford Theater’s production of The Hot Mikado. For which he won a HELEN HAYES AWARD.

 

Ted’s most recent accomplishments include appearing in Fly, the story of The Tuskegee Airmen, Sammy, the Leslie Bricusse musical about the life of Sammy Davis Jr. and a 2011 JOSEPH JEFFERSON NOMINATION for Best Supporting Actor in a musical.

 

Kaleena Miller

Kaleena Miller is a tap dancer and choreographer based in Minneapolis and New York.

She is Co-Director of the Twin Cities Tap Festival, Director of Kaleena Miller Dance and KMD2 in Minneapolis and an Artist in Residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation in New York.

Kaleena is a 2015 McKnight Dance Fellow, recipient of grants from the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board and was named one of DANCE Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2016. She has been an Artist-in-Residence at Air Le Parc (France), Everwood Farmstead Foundation (WI) and the Southern Theater (MN) as part of their ARTshare programming.

She was a founding member of Rhythmic Circus and toured extensively with the group from 2009-2017, highlights including performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland), the Kennedy Center (DC) and the New Victory Theater (NY). Kaleena also danced and toured with Buckets and Tap Shoes. She is honored to have danced in the choreographies of Roxane Butterfly, Joe Chvala, Heather Cornell, Derick Grant and Karla Grotting.

Kaleena gives thanks to Karla Grotting and Char Weiss for her early dance training, and for instilling a deep love and respect for the dance.

She has a BFA in Dance from the University of MN- Twin Cities, and is currently enrolled in a Deep Listening Intensive through the Center for Deep Listening that leads to certification.

 

Sarah Savelli

New York Times featured Sarah Savelli was a founding and choreographing member of Rhythm ISS… an influential Chicago-based, all-female tap company in the 90’s, and has been on the faculty of numerous studios, tap festivals and competition/conventions in New York City, Chicago, Michigan, and Cleveland; including Steps on Broadway (NYC), Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Center and Lou Conte’s (Chicago), the Third Coast Rhythm Project, The Chicago Tap Summit, TATD, West Coast Dance Explosion, Totally Tap, and Tapperfest Toronto. She started tap dancing at her mother’s dance studio in Northeast Ohio at the age of four, and has loved it ever since.

Best known for her swift and intricate footwork, Sarah has been teaching, performing, choreographing, and producing Tap dance events for the past 20+ years. She was commissioned on three separate occasions by Playhouse Square (Cleveland, OH) to create and perform in a full-length tap work (Tap into Peace), was the first Capezio ACE Award for Tap choreography finalist in 2010, and appears in the PBS documentary Juba! The Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance. Sarah has studied and performed with many of tap dancing’s historical greats, and has had the pleasure of dancing with Savion Glover in various shows across the USA including “Stepz” at NYC’s Joyce Theater in 2013. In addition to producing the Cleveland Tap Experience annually, she is also the artistic director of the Cleveland Tap Crew, a  youth tap ensemble with 50+ members that she established in Northeast Ohio in 2012, and co-director of the newly formed Ohio Elite Tap Company, which was established in 2020. For more info, visit www.digandswivel.com

 

Ivery Wheeler

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Ivery Wheeler brings a lifetime of experience with every shuffle and tap step. He began his tap dancing career at the age of 3 dancing on the bar at the Louisiana Club in Las Vegas more than 50 years ago. The history, grace, style and skill this one man possesses can easily fill a stage and any room. At age 14, Ivery met Maceo Anderson of “The Four Step Brothers”. In short order young Ivery became a hoofer performing in Anderson’s groups, “Four Steps and a Miss” and later “The Third Generation Steps”.

Mentored and trained by Dr. Maceo Anderson of the famous Four Step Brothers, the only known tap act to produce 9 generations of successful opening acts on Hollywood’s stage and screen stars. For more than ten years “Anderson’s kids” were on everyone’s short list. Though they performed with Jerry Lewis, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore, Pearl Bailey, Dean Martin Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Donald O’Connor, Engelbert Humperdinck, Gregory Hines, Dr. Henry LeTang, Juliet Prowse, Dr. Jimmy Slyde, Debbie Reynolds, and many others. Publicly acknowledged by Savion Glover, and Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards as their mentor, teacher and friend; and by Dianne Walker as partner, and confidante, this humble legend is just as comfortable teaching in the studio as performing on stage. With such monumental performances as “The Cotton Club”, & the Tony award winning “Black and Blue” in Paris, and on Broadway, Ivery can do it all: sing, dance, act. Honored at the LA Tap Festival in 2008 this legend is following in Maceo Anderson’s footsteps and building the next generation of tappers. “Door 2 The Floor” with the living legend master Ivery Wheeler (member) of the world renowned tap act! This is an, On The ONE Productions.

 

Jason Janas

Jason Janas is originally from New Jersey. He began his tap dance instruction under Ms. Deborah Mitchell and was the first charter member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble. He then found a love for the dance and continued to learn and study the art form. He also trained and was a member of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble under the direction of Gene Medler. His first professional company after high school was Tapestry Dance Company in Austin TX, under the direction of Acia Gray. He was a principal dancer there for 5 years. His hard work ethic began to take notice and Derick Grant invited Jason to be in his show “Imagine Tap!” which ran for 6 weeks in Chicago, and changed his life. His other show credits include “Souls of our Feet”  where he worked with Fayard Nicholas, Jenni LeGon, Harold Cromer, and Arthur Duncan with Tapestry Dance Company, “Wonderland” with Sara Savelli and Ayodele Casel, and most recently co-choreographed and was featured in “Tap Stars” with Rasta Thomas. In addition to directing and producing his own company Co.MMIT, Jason has taught at tap festivals in New Jersey, Chicago, New York, L.A., Charlotte, Austin, San Antonio, Vancouver, Croatia, Germany, Zurich, Curitiba (Brazil), Moscow, and Barcelona! Jason is currently the resident tap instructor for Radix Dance Convention. Jason and his wife, Bianca, own a dance school, The Foundation House LLC, located in Michigan.

 

Karissa Royster

Karissa Royster is a performer, choreographer, and educator specializing  in tap dance. Originally from San Antonio, Karissa is a graduate of  NYU, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and was a Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar. 

Her formation as an artist and practitioner began under the tutelage of  Barbara Phillips and Third Coast Rhythm Project. While continuing her studies in NYC, Karissa had the opportunity to perform as part of  Dormeshia’s “Sophisticated Ladies” at the historic Cotton Club. She also  appeared with Jason Samuels Smith’s A.C.G.I. at Brooklyn Dance  Festival. Karissa credits these experiences, in addition to the knowledge  she gained while taking class from Derick Grant and Marshall Davis, Jr., as fundamental to shaping her identity in this form. 

In April 2016, she made her Broadway debut as the Dance Captain and  as a member of the dance ensemble in Shuffle Along, or, the Making of  the Musical Sensation of 1921 & All That Followed, choreographed by  Savion Glover and directed by George C. Wolfe. Karissa performed at the 70th Annual Tony Awards with the company of Shuffle Along,  nominated for Best Musical and Best Choreography, as well as on  ABC’s broadcast of “Taking the Stage: Changing America”, in which  she had the honor of performing with Savion Glover and fellow cast  members for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.  She was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2016.  

Karissa teaches workshops at various institutions across the United  States and is passionate about preserving and sharing the beautiful  tradition of tap dance, as well as exploring its roots in American history & vernacular music.

 

Maurice Chestnut

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.

 

Robyn Watson

Robyn Watson is a native of Philadelphia and began dancing at the age of 5. She  began her training at La-Cher-Tari Dance Studio and later at Wissahickon Dance  Academy. By the age of 10 she was asked to join Tap Team Two and Co and served  as a member and choreographer until 2002. She has had the opportunity to  perform with innovators and trailblazers in the discipline of tap dance including,  Dianne Walker, Germaine Ingram, Savion Glover and the late, legendary Mabel  Lee. Robyn was featured in the May/June 2005 issue of Dance Spirit Magazine as  one of the “20 Hot Tappers, 20 and Under”. Watson received her B.A in Theater  from Temple University. In 2016 served as the tap instructor for the Broadway  sensation “Shuffle Along.” She also has been a collaborator with Grammy award  winning , MacArthur Genius recipient, Rhiannon Giddens. She was the featured  dancer on the Grammy nominated album, “American Originals:1918” along with  Giddens for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Over the past ten years she has had  the opportunity to work and study under the direction of Tony award winning  choreographer, Savion Glover. She has had the opportunity being a part of  several of his productions including: Sole Power, Stepz and Bare Soundz. Robyn  was a resident artist at the Painted Bride Art Center where she began developing,  “The Blackbirds’ Suites” a trilogy of tap dance narratives that address black  women’s identity throughout American History. Over the past several years,  Robyn has served as, guest lecturer and adjunct professor throughout the  country including her alma mater, Temple University. She is currently serving as  the Tap Director at Nolte Academy in Iowa City. Robyn Watson is a native of Philadelphia and began dancing at the age of 5. She  began her training at La-Cher-Tari Dance Studio and later at Wissahickon Dance  Academy. By the age of 10 she was asked to join Tap Team Two and Co and served  as a member and choreographer until 2002. She has had the opportunity to  perform with innovators and trailblazers in the discipline of tap dance including,  Dianne Walker, Germaine Ingram, Savion Glover and the late, legendary Mabel  Lee. Robyn was featured in the May/June 2005 issue of Dance Spirit Magazine as  one of the “20 Hot Tappers, 20 and Under”. Watson received her B.A in Theater  from Temple University. In 2016 served as the tap instructor for the Broadway  sensation “Shuffle Along.” She also has been a collaborator with Grammy award  winning , MacArthur Genius recipient, Rhiannon Giddens. She was the featured  dancer on the Grammy nominated album, “American Originals:1918” along with  Giddens for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Over the past ten years she has had  the opportunity to work and study under the direction of Tony award winning  choreographer, Savion Glover. She has had the opportunity being a part of  several of his productions including: Sole Power, Stepz and Bare Soundz. Robyn  was a resident artist at the Painted Bride Art Center where she began developing,  “The Blackbirds’ Suites” a trilogy of tap dance narratives that address black  women’s identity throughout American History. Over the past several years,  Robyn has served as, guest lecturer and adjunct professor throughout the  country including her alma mater, Temple University. She is currently serving as  the Tap Director at Nolte Academy in Iowa City. 

 

Brian Seibert

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Brian Seibert is the author of What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing (FSG, 2015), which was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award and won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Since 2011, he has been a dance critic and features writer for The New York Times, and he has contributed to The New Yorker since 2002. His reviews, features, and essays have appeared in The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, Slate, Dance Magazine, and The Threepenny Review, among other publications. He has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Corporation of Yaddo. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia University, he has taught writing and dance history, among other subjects, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Columbia University, and Yale University. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.  

 

Accomodations Provided By:

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Offering studio apartments with kitchenettes for those who register. The Sonesta ES Suites are located right off the Magnificent Mile making the Fine Arts Building and the rest of the city accessible to all. To book a reservation, please click here or call 1.800.SON.ESTA (766.3782) and mention “Chicago Human Rhythm Project.”

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Next Step?


Next Step is a professional level program for technically advanced dancers, where teachers are encouraged to experiment and take technical and aesthetic risks to advance the field of tap and percussive dance. Students are expected to fully participate in this boundary pushing environment.




How do I register for Next Step programs?


Next Step programs are open to students who pass the Video Audition process.




How do I determing what level is appropriate for me or my child?


The best way to determine the appropriate level for your child is to ask their instructor, who is most familiar with your child’s abilities. If their teacher is unfamiliar with our program and/or instructors, we can better determine an appropriate level if you provide a video link which shows you or your child/student dancing. You can send video links to registration@chicagotap.org.




What are the age restrictions for the programs?


While there are no strict age restrictions for most programs, some things to consider are whether your child is at the appropriate skill and maturity level for the chosen classes. Maturity and skill level are not always determined by age, but students must be able to function in a highly focused learning environment.




I have no experience with tap dancing. Can I take beginner-level classes?


Unfortunately, there are no classes offered at Rhythm World for absolute beginners. There are a few advanced beginner classes for those with some tap experience. Beginner level classes are offered year-round at the American Rhythm Center.




Can I video the class?


No, videos are not allowed. You must ask permission of the instructor if you wish to make a video AFTER class. Videos are NOT permitted under any circumstance DURING classes.




Can I register for classes at the festival? Or should I register in advance?


You may register at the festival for any classes that still have openings. However, CHRP does not guarantee that you will be able to get a spot in your preferred classes if you register at the festival. We highly recommend you register in advance.




Are there any discounts?


Early registration discounts are available if you register by May 25. Tuition credits are also available for groups of 6 or more.




What is the cancellation policy?


Students may cancel their registration by June 14 to receive a refund minus a $75.00 cancellation fee + the $30.00 registration fee. Unfortunately, refunds will not be issued after this date for any reason.




What if the class I want is full?


If classes are full, you can be placed on a wait list for the classes you wish to take. CHRP will notify you if a spot opens up in your desired class.




What if my class is cancelled?


CHRP reserves the right to cancel any class before the start of the festival, due to low enrollment. If your class is cancelled, we will notify you right away and you will have an option of moving to a different class, a tuition credit to be used at another program or a full refund.




How can I help/volunteer at Rhythm World?


Please call the CHRP office at 312-542-2477 to learn more about volunteer opportunities at Rhythm World.