The Chicago Human Rhythm Project's tap fest, Juba!, is back | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Chicago Human Rhythm Project's tap fest, Juba!, is back


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Tap dancer Heather Cornell is a huge advocate of improvising to live music and has gone that route herself for years, with a vengeance. You can catch her in various online videos, tapping with a turbaned tala singer, a cappella jazz artists, or a breathy vocalist meandering through the Beatles' "Blackbird." The most famous tap dancer you've never heard of, Cornell receives a Juba! Award for lifetime achievement Thursday night, as part of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project's annual Juba! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance series. The evening highlights Canadian tappers (many of whom, though they hail from Canada, are now global vagabonds), including Lisa La Touche, a former artistic associate with CHRP's resident ensemble, BAM! La Touche and Travis Knights seem to be among the young hip-hop Turks in the Canuck contingent performing here. The final Juba! evening, on Saturday, features special guests Derick Grant and Dianne "Lady Di" Walker as well as several local groups. BAM! performs three pieces, one of them a Chicago premiere, Lane Alexander's Bach in 3 and 4.

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