Tap dance is one of those deceptive "folksy" forms that people sometimes underestimate. But watching a rehearsal by BAM!, founded by CHRP artistic director Lane Alexander, I could see that the rhythms, difficult as they are to produce, aren't the whole picture: there's also the aural dynamic of each phrase and all the phrases put together, the movement around the stage, and the dancers' interaction. As part of "Windy City Rhythms," a celebration of National Tap Dance Day, BAM! jives to a live rendition of "Autumn Leaves." Also performing to music by the Jeremy Kahn Trio are Reggio "the Hoofer" McLaughlin, Julie Cartier's Especially Tap Chicago, Jimmy Payne Jr., Soul to Soles Youth Tap Ensemble, and French tapper Roxane Butterfly; Idella Reed and Jumaane Taylor perform Friday only. The program's second half is a James Brown tribute with a contribution from each company; as Alexander says, when McLaughlin dances to "I Got You (I Feel Good)" "he is James Brown." One hour before each concert there's a free class (no special shoes required) covering the basic steps and some of tap's history. a Opens Thu 5/24, 7:30 PM. Through 5/26: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble, 773-281-1825, $20-$25, $15 for kids under 12.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Lane Alexander photo by Kristie Kahns.