THE AMERICAN TAP DANCE FOUNDATION GALA
April 24, 2015
The American Tap Dance Foundation Gala “Rhythm in Motion” at the 14th Street Y was a family affair in the very best sense of the word. Young dancers beamed while tapping tightly rehearsed routines, proving tap is good for the body, and ego.
Tony Waag, the affable director of ATDF welcomed the crowd and thanked them for helping support the organization’s indispensable Gregory Hines Scholarship Program.
Woven throughout the well-produced program, professionals demonstrated this generations’ exciting new crop of artists including Jason Samuels Smith, Elizabeth Burke, Warren Craft, Leonardo Sandoval and Caleb Teicher.
A member of the staff, Brenda Buffalino led a posse of young tappers in a smooth rendition of Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood.” Mentored by the famous tap dancer Charles “Honi” Coles once a member of the legendary Copasetics, Buffalino (an original member of ATDF) underscores musicality.
Near the end of the lively festivities, Maurice Hines expressed his intense desire to keep the name of his brother Gregory Hines alive through the encouragement provided by the scholarships named after his brother. In an emotional remembrance, he described Gregory Hines: a beautiful man known for his remarkable generosity, fluidity and world-class improvisations built on his drumming background.
Through organizations like this, students and future professionals are taught the specifics of tapping, meet great jazz artists like Ellington, Mel Torme, Lester Young, Johnny Mercer and learn the history of their elders –those responsible for blazing a trail to the future.
Tony Waag curated and directed the delightful evening enlivened by the music of Logan Evan Thomas (piano), Greg Richardson (bass), and Josh Davis (drums).
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis