Linda Sohl-Ellison is Artistic Director/choreographer/soloist with Rhapsody In Taps, a Long Beach, California based touring company she co-founded in 1981. The company featured seven - nine tap dancers, six musicians and guest artists performing annual Los Angeles home seasons and touring internationally from 1981-2017, as well as presenting the Southern California Tap Festival, annual Tap and Live Music lecture-dem programs for teachers and students in Los Angeles Unified School District, and other tap events. Since 2018, Linda has continued to create and perform duet tap/music collaborations with husband, percussionist Monti Ellison, set historic RIT repertoire and choreographic commissions, teach tap master classes, workshops and classes at dance festivals, serve as an adjudicator, produce Rhapsody In Taps’ annual National Tap Day events, and edit RHAPSODY IN TAPS, The First 35 Years! Video Anthology.
Linda’s dance training includes extensive studies in modern dance, ballet, tap and jazz in Ohio, New York and southern California. She received a BFA from Ohio University in Dance and Graphic Design and an MA from UCLA in Dance Choreography and Performance. As a tap dancer Linda has enjoyed prestigious mentorships with tap dance masters: Foster Johnson, Eddie Brown, Charles ‘Honi’ Coles and Buster Brown. In 1990 she collaborated with Gregory Hines, staging and performing in his first choreographic work, Toeing the 3rd and Fifth made for Rhapsody In Taps and funded by the NEA; she has re-staged this work several times, including in 2016 for Rhapsody in Taps’ 35th Anniversary season. Linda has toured the United States, Mexico, Canada, Asia, Indonesia, France and Germany teaching and performing as a soloist, with Rhapsody In Taps, and with Monti Ellison.
A prolific choreographer, Ms. Sohl-Ellison has created more than 70 dances with live music for Rhapsody In Taps, developed a diverse repertoire that paid tribute to the rich heritage of tap as well as exploring innovative choreographic directions for the concert stage. The company’s funding history includes numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and other organizations supporting works created with noted tap and music masters. A leader in the “tap resurgence” that began in the early 1980’s, Rhapsody In Taps is the longest operating professional tap dance company in the United States, and hence the world. The company is recognized for its early choreographic invention and experimentation, efforts to preserve and present tap’s legacy, and for its significant contributions to the worldwide resurgence of tap dance.
Linda Sohl-Ellison is also Dance Professor Emeritus at Orange Coast College where, as a full time dance faculty member for 37 years, she taught advanced modern dance, jazz, tap, choreography, repertoire, improvisation, dance methodology, directed annual student dance concerts and mentored dancers seeking professional careers. Linda continues to enjoy teaching tap part time at OCC.
AWARDS & HONORS: Recognized for her choreographic innovation in tap, Ms. Sohl-Ellison was awarded five Choreographers’ Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Irvine Fellowships in Dance (1999, 2001), a Dance: Creation to Performance grant from the James Irvine Foundation (2006), and grants from California Arts Council, LA Dept. of Cultural Affairs, Arts Council for Long Beach, Public Corporation for the Arts, NARB, and California Community Foundation. In 1999 she was nominated for the Alpert Award in Dance. Outstanding choreography awards include the Palm Desert Choreography Festival and Lester Horton Dance Awards from the Dance Resource Center of Los Angeles. Linda was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio University (2006), a Milestone Award from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for more than 25 years of performances, programs and arts leadership in Los Angeles (2007), a Tapestry Award from Soul to Sole tap festival in Austin (2010) a Hoofer Award from the American Tap Dance Foundation in New York (2020) and a Legacy Award from Orange County Tap Festival (2022). Linda’s film credits include the movie TAP, and three documentaries: Thinking on their Feet: Women of the Tap Renaissance, You Gotta Move, and JUBA.
For the past 4 years Linda Sohl-Ellison has been dedicating much of her time to editing RHAPSODY IN TAPS, The First 35 Years! Video Anthology (an eight hour archive and educational resource offered FREE to school and public libraries across the nation). Info: email@example.com