Juba!: The Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance
Plenty of us thrilled to the thunderous rhythms produced by Riverdance's throngs of step dancers, only to discover in the last few months that taped tapping was played during performances. I guess if you want the real thing, you've got to forget about glitz and go for the roots of the form. One thing's for sure: there won't be any recorded tapping during the eighth annual Chicago Human Rhythm Project shows, which feature some two dozen groups and individuals in ten performances. And though evening after evening of tap dance might sound monotonous, one of the things I like best about the form is the variety of dancers--old and young, male and female, black and white--and their strong, eccentric presences onstage. Juba! features former vaudeville performer Ernest "Brownie" Brown as well as the teenagers of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble, Broadway stars both male and female (Van "the Man" Porter, Teddy Levy, Dianne "Lady Di" Walker), and such international talents as Luke Cresswell (cocreator of Stomp) and Savion Glover, who's almost single-handedly revitalized tap in such shows as Jelly's Last Jam and Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk (not to mention Sesame Street, where he appeared as a guest for several years). See listing for lineups this week; performances begin Wednesday at 7:30 and continue through Sunday, July 26: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30, Fridays and Saturdays at 8, and Sundays at 3. At the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; $27. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 773-761-4889 for information, including group rates.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Van 'The Man' Porter uncredited photo.