With no disrespect to Aaron Copland, his view of percussive effects--outlined in his little book What to Listen for in Music--is highly limited: "The more [percussion instruments] are saved for essential moments the more effective they will be." Tell that to the performers in Chicago on Tap II, who entertain with nothing but the percussive sounds produced by their own bodies, often carrying on dance and music traditions several centuries older than the orchestral symphony. Maria Pages, of Riverdance, performs flamenco; Tanushree Sarkar, the classical Indian form of kathak; and Liam Harney, the precise, astounding leaps and taps of Irish step dancing. If you haven't guessed, this year's festival--unlike the last one, two years ago--is not devoted entirely to tap. But there are a number of tappers on the program: rhythm tapper Sarah Petronio, the duo of Lavaughn Robinson and Germaine Ingram, and tap great Fayard Nicholas--one-half of the famous "flash act" the Nicholas Brothers, who made their debut at the Cotton Club in 1932, when Fayard was 14 and Harold was 8. Relative newcomers and revisionists include Ira Bernstein, a versatile performer of jazz tap, Appalachian and English clogging, Canadian and Irish step dancing, and South African boot dancing; Keith Terry, who takes a playful, theatrical approach to percussive sounds; and Herbin Van Cayseele, who blends hip-hop and funk with traditional styles. It's a disservice to call this concert "Stomp without the props." These folks are specialists who've honed their skills in a specific area, while Stomp are generalists who do nothing musical particularly well. Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 3 at the Navy Pier Skyline Stage, 600 E. Grand; $24. Call 902-1500 for tickets and information.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo of Maria Pages by Maika.