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About Stone Soup Rhythms

Stone Soup Rhythms (SSR), the resident ensemble of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, is a collective of emerging and established tap dance artists who bend time and space to make new work. The name Stone Soup Rhythms refers to a European fable in which a wayfaring stranger brings a small village together to create a communal feast by enticing each member to add a unique ingredient.

Led for the last three years by CHRP’s Artist in Residence Dani Borak, the company has a large and eclectic repertoire including works by Borak, MacArthur Genius Michelle Dorrance, Emmy Award winner Ted Louis Levy, CHRP Founder and Director Lane Alexander, sand master Guillem Alonso, Step Afrika! Artistic Director Jakari JcKo Sherman and others. SSR connects the ancient and sacred roots of percussive dance to the urban vibe of personal expression and innovation to create a feast of sound and movement.

Reviews

“The unison rhythms of the historic work combines crisp footwork, claps, and body percussion in a fun, fast-paced tap dance primer that forms the basis for everything that follows.”

– Lynn Colburn Shapiro, SeeChicagoDance.com

Stone Soup Rhythms Performers

Stone Soup Ensemble

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Photo credit to William Frederking

Jumaane Taylor

CHRP Artistic Director, Jumaane Taylor, a Chicago native, has been tap dancing since the age of 7 at the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre. He has had the opportunity to train with Geraldine Williams, Idella Reed Davis, Runako Jahi, Bril Barrett, Jimmy Payne Jr., and George Patterson III.

 

​In 2015, Jumaane created Supreme Love. A tap dance production honoring John Coltrane’s 'A Love Supreme' and the art of tap, premiering at jazz music and dance festivals including Jacob's Pillow in 2017. In 2018 he established Heel and Toe Productions, presenting The Jazz Hoofing Quartet. A solo dance performance using improvisation, to continue the progressive exploration of live music with tap. 2020 delivered Ugly Flavors, covering Ornette Coleman's 'The Shape of Jazz To Come' then Igor Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring'. Choreographing a new layer of rhythmical composition for the two legendary works, as the tap dancers celebrate their relationship to the earth.

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Keyana Latimer

Keyana Latimer is an African American actress, singer and dancer. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Keyana began her dance training at The Academy of Dance Arts. At the age of nine, she started choreographing dances for young teen girls in Chicago’s North Lawndale community. She made her professional debut in 2009, as a Junior Luvabulls and Bulls Kidz for Chicago’s NBA team. She later was selected to be dancer for the memorable band Pink Floyd. In her early adolescent years, she devoted much of her time and talent while in middle and high school. She became head choreographer for many school plays and musicals. She was also a writer and composer for the musical, Train performed at Trinity High-school.  

In 2020, she pursued her professional acting career landing a principal role on Fox’s television show, “Empire” and “The Chi” on showtime. She later premiered as a principal dancer in Ugly Flavors. A livestream work sample performance piece created by tap dancer Jumaane Taylor, and premiered at The Dance Center of Columbia College. Keyana’s ultimate goal is to empower underserved youth in Chicago through the education of the performing arts.

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Kenneth Russell

As a native Chicagoan, Kenneth Russell (Djedi) was the second child to be born out of 3 siblings and has been involved the in performing arts since he was 8 years old. He started out in tumbling class at Mayfair Academy, but after 2 years of repetitive routines, his enthusiasm faded, so his mother introduced him to tap dance. After all, his mother, brother, and sister were all taking up tap, so he finally gave it a shot. After his first performance, Kenn fell in love with the art form and sought after it more as years passed. He has taken master tap dance classes from some of the greatest tap dancers in the world (Jason Samuels Smith, Bril Barrett, Martin “Tre” Dumas III, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Dianne "Lady Di" Walker, Derrick Grant, Reggio McLaughlin and the late great Ernest “Brownie” Brown to name a few). Now more than 20 years in his craft, he's teaching children to pursue their dreams, while he leads by example with his own style in the art form of tap dance. Amongst other rhythmic dance genres that were picked up along the way, Djedi has been using tap dance as an outlet for healing.

Past Stone Soup Ensemble Members

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Photo credit to Julia Nash Photography

Dani Borak

A native of Switzerland (Winterthur), Dani has performed as a soloist around the world and has won 11 gold medals in many different categories (six in solo male) at the IDO tap dance world championships in Riesa, Germany.

 

In 2013, he served as co-choreographer and dance captain for productions of Spamalot and Flashdance. In 2014, he collaborated on the creation of Funny Feet (by Lukas Weiss Productions) a show that fused tap dance, juggling, virtuosic foot percussion and humor. Other shows featuring his performances in 2014–15 included WINGS by Rigolo and, thanks to Regine Ochsner, Rhythm Refix by Cartier Williams.

 

In 2015, he faced the greatest challenge of his career, performing in Kilian Deissler’s Kick The Square: tapping by using notes in an extremely complex way, with six other musicians, using a notation system specifically created for the project and a special stage consisting of different sound elements.

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Photo J Alice Jackson Photography

Tristan Bruns

Tristan is a Chicago tap dancer  who has received training  under Donna Johnson, Ted Louis  Levy, Sam Weber and Martin “Tre”  Dumas III. Tristan has been on faculty  at the Circle City Tap Festival (Indianapolis)  and Rhythm World (Chicago) and is currently a member  of M.A.D.D. rhythms directed by Bril Barrett, and the Chicago  Human Rhythm Project’s resident ensemble directed by Artist In Residence Daniel Borak.

Tristan is the Director of Tapman Productions and has produced two seasons of performances in Chicago, including The Adventures of  Tapman, THRUST!, and La Raison d’etre. Tapman Productions has provided production  assistance to dance artists Ian Berg (From The Top), Jumaane Taylor (Supreme Love),  Kate O’Hanlon (Modern Marvels Dance Co.), Kendra Jorsted (Jorstap) and the Elgin Ties  Dance Festival (Elgin Taps).

Tapman Productions is currently beginning their 3rd season  in Chicago, IL. Tristan has performed locally, nationally and internationally with notable  performances at the Beijing International Dance Festival, the Reus (Spain) Tap Dance Festival,  The Poznan(Poland) Jazz Festival, Rhythm World Tap Festival (Chicago), 42nd St. choreographed by  Jared Grimes (Drury Lane-­‐Oakbrook, IL), Supreme Love choreographed by Jumaane Taylor (Chicago), Celtic  Fyre (Williamsburg), the Detroit Jazz Festival, The Steve Harvey Show and The Inside/Out Stage at Jacob’s Pillow.

Tristan has performed with other Chicago dance companies such as the Cartier Collective, Chicago Dance Crash and Matter Dance.

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Photo J Alice Jackson Photography

Time Brickey

Time Brickey is a tap dancer, musician, and generally entertaining guy from Chicago. He is a member of M.A.D.D. Rhythms and a collaborator with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Stone Soup Rhythms and has performed in Dance for Life Chicago, the Stomping Grounds Festival, JUBA!, and as a soloist at the Billy Strayhorn Centennial, where he was described by the Chicago Tribune as a “Literal Loose Cannon.”

Time was featured tap dancing on 91.1 Vocalo with DJ Ayana Contreras for Reclaimed Soul in The Parks, and in the critically acclaimed production of 42nd St. at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook. Time can also be spotted in the wild world of puppetry, performing with Cabinet of Curiosity Productions.

Call him sometime, why not? He’s nice.

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Photo J Alice Jackson Photography

Megan Davis

Megan Davis started dancing in Austin, TX studying with Tri-Tone, under the direction of Tasha Lawson, and Tapestry Dance Company, under the direction of Acia Gray. She later moved to Chicago in 2013 to pursue her STEM and dance career.

In 2016 she obtained her Bachelors of Science in pure math and subsequently in 2017 she earned her Masters of Science in pure mathematics. While studying, she was privileged to dance and perform with MADD Rhythms, under the direction of Bril Barrett, Tapman Productions, under the direction of Tristan Bruns, and Stone Soup Rhythms, which is under the direction of Lane Alexander and artistic direction by artist in residence Daniel Borak.

Most recently, she performed with Rhythm ISS…, under the direction of Sarah Savelli, Idella Reed-Davis, and Sharon Rushing in their show “Rhythm ISS… Returns!”, MADD Rhythms show “Feeling Good, a MADD Rhythms tribute to Nina Simone”, and at the opening tap jam for Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World Tap and Percussive Arts Festival at the Jazz Showcase. She premiered her choreography in Chicago at Stage 773 in the show “Persist: Tap Dance Made by Women” through Audible Odyssey’s artist in resonance program and at Navy Pier through the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World Tap and Percussive Arts Festival.

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Photo Julia Nash Photography

Matt Pospeshil

Matt Pospeshil grew up dancing, singing & performing theater in the northern suburbs of Chicago, and got his start dancing professionally with Especially Tap Chicago (dir. Julie Cartier). He furthered his education at Western Michigan University; got a BA in Dance, and performed Musical Theater.

After college, Matt returned home to dance with Inaside Chicago Dance (dir. Richard Smith), and the Gus Giordano Jazz Legacy Company (dir. Amy Giordano). Some other notable performances that Matt has had the pleasure to be involved with are Dance for Life, Dance in the Parks, The Fly Honey Show, Audible Odyssey & The Green Mill Poetry Slam. Matt is honored to be a collaborator with Stone Soup Rhythms, and an alumni of Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s former collective, BAM! (dir. Lane Alexander).

When he is not performing he is teaching throughout the greater Chicagoland area, and runs a performing arts academy with his family in Buffalo Grove, IL called Pospeshil Performing Arts.

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Photo J Alice Jackson Photography

KJ Sheldon

KJ Sheldon is originally from Parker, Colorado. 

At 8 years old, her love of tap dance began as a student of the late Professor Robert L. Reed and member of the Colorado Chapter of the St. Louis Hoofers Club.  She grew up surrounded by his love for the art from, the St. Louis Tap Festival, and all the Masters that came through her life. KJ from the Chicago College of Performing Arts with a BFA in Musical Theatre with an emphasis in Dance.  She is a member of Stone Soup Rhythms, and recently danced in the reunion concert with Rhythm ISS… KJ was thrilled to be in the Ensemble of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Wizard of Oz and is pursuing both theatre and tap dance around the city of Chicago!

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Photo Julia Nash Photography

Davon Suttles

An emerging artist of North Minneapolis, Davon grew up performing in Keane Sense of Rhythm Youth Tap Ensemble. The past decade he has been able to study, perform, and teach internationally.

In 2016 Davon was chosen to showcase two new works; Shine at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project Youth Tap Ensemble Conference Benefit Concert, and Grid at the Twin Cities Tap Festival. Davon is the Resident Choreographer of Keane Sense of Rhythm Davon through which he premiered his first full length work,  MELANIZED, which explores the everyday beauty and struggles of people of color.

Davon is also an actor, he is a senior pursuing a BA in Musical Theatre Performance at Columbia College Chicago. He has performed with the Children’s Theatre Company in Shrek the Musical, and Bare – a pop opera. He has also worked at Stages, Illusion Theatre, Windy City Music Theatre, and last fall was a featured dancer in a hit adaption of 42nd Street, choreographed by broadway performer Jared Grimes, at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace.

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Photo Julia Nash Photography

Jessica Tenbusch

Jessica Tenbusch has been dancing for over 20 years, starting her training in Collierville, Tennessee at Ginny Mount School of Dance. She continued her training and graduated with honors, receiving a BA in Dance from Western Kentucky University.

In 2014, she began dancing with Tristan Bruns and his company TapMan Productions, and she is still a member. She also is currently a dancer with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s resident company Stone Soup Rhythms, under the direction of Lane Alexander and Dani Borak. Jessica has performed all over the Chicago area, and has travelled abroad, dancing in Italy, France, and Spain.

With the CHRP, she has performed works by Dani Borak and renowned tap dancer and choreographer Michelle Dorrance. She loves the opportunity of getting to dance with so many talented dancers of different backgrounds with CHRP.