FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
TAPOLOGY DANCE FESTIVAL
PRESS CONTACT ONLY: Alfred Bruce Bradley (810) 787-0197
Yasmin Tamar (407) 497-0042
World Renowned Dance Performer Trains Youth in Flint
Flint, Michigan: September 23 - 27, 2013. Thanks in part to grants from Ruth Mott Foundation and Community Foundation of Flint, world renowned dancer, actress and educator Dianne “Lady Di” Walker comes to Flint the week of September 23 to work with youth of Tapology’s Youth Ensemble at Flint Institute of Music.
Walker is best known for her performance in the film “Tap” with Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. “The Ballerina of Tap” has also been featured in PBS Great Performances: “Tap Dance in America” and documentaries: “Honi Coles: The Class Act of Tap”; and “Songs Unwritten – Leon Collins”.
Currently the Artistic Director of TapDancin’ Inc, of Boston, Dianne also works in conjunction with major dance organizations in Dallas, Minneapolis and Tokyo to facilitate collaborations, and work opportunities, for tap dance and dancers.
Dianne Walker is considered a pioneer in the resurgence of tap dancing. Her thirty year career spans Broadway, television, film and international dance concerts. Throughout the world of tap, she has been dubbed the “Ella Fitzgerald” of Tap Dance”. The Boston Herald called her “America’s First Lady of Tap” and in Dallas, “The Ballerina of Tap”. One of Tapology’s major educational partners, she leads the Walker/Collins project to house the pioneering works of herself and mentor Leon Collins here in Flint.
Leon Collins (1922 – 1985), tap virtuoso who inspired a new blend of jazz and classical music, placing an innovative focus on melody rather than rhythm alone, and who believed that “Dancing is the poetry of the body, as music is the poetry of the soul”. Dancing to such jazz standards as Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunesia,” Collins also interpreted Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee” and Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue in C Minor,” dancing with disarming ease and shimmering speed.
Collins, along with Baby Laurence and Teddy Hale, were among the pioneers of the high speed, packed tempos of bebop-style tap dancing, intimately involved with the new developments taking place in jazz during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Their fast and free-form improvising was well-suited to the bebop that was being created by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, who Collins jammed informally with on numerous occasions, expressing in his feet what they played on their horns, and developing a melodic style of tapping that grew from his own musicality.
Walker has selected Tapology and Flint as one of the world-wide repositories to collect the body of work developed by herself and Collins.
Tapology has become a major dance training institution throughout the country, drawing performers and students from as far away as Oregon, Texas, Spain and Canada. Over the past decade faculty has included legendary performers such as Savion Glover and Arthur Duncan.
Tapology’s Youth Ensemble represents up to 50 students at a time who commit to training, rehearsals and performances. They are developing a strong work ethic, pride in accomplishment, excellence and accountability. In 2013 the Ensemble performed locally and at the Rocking Rhythm Conference with American Tap Dance Foundation in New York City; in Washington, D.C. for the Department of Education; and this summer for the Youth Empowerment Showcase at CMU.
Training opportunities for the general public include advanced workshops, and classes for beginners and older adults through year round outreach, and the Tapology Festival running the weekend of October 25th, 2013 which is hosted at The Flint Institute of Music.
For more information about Tapology’s upcoming festival, the Walker/Collins Project, or to register to participate in classes; go to www.tapology.org or phone 810 787-0197.
Press contact only:
Alfred Bruce Bradley