Tapology Concert Performance featuring Mercedes Ellington

7:00 pm Sunday October 28th at The Whiting

  • Mercedes Ellington, Broadway and television tap dancer, choreographer, director, and producer who has preserved and extended the musical legacy of her grandfather, Duke Ellington, and who has been hailed as "one of the brightest dancing stars this universe has ever known," was born to Ruth Silas and musician and bandleader
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  • JOSETTE WIGGAN started dancing at the age of 12 at Paul and Arlene Kennedy’s Universal Dance Designs in Los Angeles. Under their tutelage, she discovered her passion for stage and theater. Josette then moved on to dance as a member of Lynn Dally's Jazz Tap Ensemble in both the Caravan
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  • A talented Educator, Director and Choreographer, Ms. Reyes has a body of work that is diverse and all encompassing, ranging from youth productions to reviving dormant cultural traditions. Reyes believes the arts offer healing, transformation and wholeness that enable us to find deeper meaning and richness in our existence. M.F.A.
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  • Trained with the off-broadway musical STOMP at the Orpheum Theatre in New York, Urban Bush Women and Miami Heat dancers. Page worked at The School at Steps New York, Motor City Dance Factory and multiple Michigan studios. Directs Tapology's Outreach program, providing tap classes year round to after-school programs, introducing
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  • Kandee Thacker-Mann Flint native. She is an advocate for tap dance in Dayton and organizes annual workshops featuring and collaborating with the legendary Dianne Walker. She continues to spread her love of dance through teaching, choreography, and collaboration. She has instructed at the Ohio Dance Festival, as adjunct at Wright
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  • Dianne Walker, jazz tap dancer known for her elegant and fluid style of dancing that is delicate yet rhythmically complex, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Walker received the Dance Magazine Award in 2012 for lifetime achievement in dance. Principal dancer in the Paris production of Black and Blue, as well
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  •   Co-starred in Dean Hargrove's "Tap Heat", a short film available on DVD. featured dancer in HBO/Universal Pictures's motion picture "Idlewild" starring Outkast. Debbie Allen has featured his talents in several productions including the AMC television series "Cool Women", Sammy (a tribute to the life of Sammy Davis jr.), and
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  •   Joseph performed in the American tour of Riverdance, tap dance musical Imagine Tap! choreographed by Derick K. Grant, and toured France and abroad in Jerome Savary's musical comedy À la Recherche de Joséphine. As a teacher he has shared his artistry with students in Sweden, Japan, Russia, and Peru
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  •   Featured Tap soloist for international touring company Illstyle & Peace Productions, was cast in Noah Racey's Pulse: The Beat of Song and Dance; and trained with Savion Glover. Performs and teaches in New York and St. Maarten, teaching underserved youth. Bradley also presented her art as part of a
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  •   An International performer, Bradley danced Broadway's "Shuffle Along", "STOMP", George Faison's Bubblin’ Brown Sugar starring Diahnn Carroll and was named as one of Dance Magazine's "25 To Watch". A recorded vocalist as well as producer for the Tapology Festival, Ali is known as a demanding choreographer and lead trainer
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  •   Joined Deborah Mitchell's New Jersey Tap Ensemble at age 9. Quickly recognized as a rising young star, he was featured on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show's "My Kid's A Star"; toured nationally with "Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk" and as special guest with jazz artists Christian
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  •   “The McFadden Brothers” are world-class entertainers whose career spans across many countries and venues. Their unique style and abilities have earned them the label as being a “triple threat,” in that they are both accomplished singers, tap dancers and musicians.  Their show encompasses their own unique style of entertainment
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  • Martin "Tre'" Dumas III has taught and performed extensively throughout the continental U.S., Canada and Germany as well as other parts of Europe, and South America.Mr. Dumas was a featured soloist portraying a fiery tap dancing preacher in David Danced in director/choreographer Derick Grant's tap musical extravaganza, Imagine Tap. Most
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  • Mikaela Miki Evans is an actress, vocalist, and dancer. She is a Detroit native and a second generation Flintstone Hoofer. Mikaela has gone on to teach and perform with youth in many different cultural settings from America, Europe, and Asia. She's gained skill in production with Virginia Stage Company, Harlem's
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  • Cherisse Bradley is a dancer and vocalist - one of the Original Flintstone Hoofers. Cherisse is currently working as a vocalist and dance teacher in New York, continuing to use her skills to reach out to other youth. Cherisse has appeared in Debbie Allen's "Chocolate Nutcracker". She danced and trained with
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  • C. Daniel Dawson is a scholar and lecturer of African Diaspora and its impact on American culture. A multi-talented artist, Professor Dawson has worked as a photographer, filmmaker, curator, and arts administrator.  He has served as Curator of Photography, Film and Video at the Studio Museum in Harlem (NYC), Director
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2018 Mercedes Ellington

MercedesEllingtonHeadshot Tapology2018

Mercedes Ellington
, Broadway and television tap dancer, choreographer, director, and producer who has preserved and extended the musical legacy of her grandfather, Duke Ellington, and who has been hailed as "one of the brightest dancing stars this universe has ever known," was born to Ruth Silas and musician and bandleader Mercer Ellington. The United States has had few notable three-generation families in the performing arts, and even fewer still are families are those of color. The Ellington family is one of those unique entities. Mercedes however, chose a different road than her father and grandfather; instead of music, she chose dance. She began her dance training very young and continued with several instructors until she won a scholarship to the Metropolitan Opera School of Ballet, where she made her New York City Opera debut in 1977. Upon completion she enrolled in and graduated from Juilliard, where she studied with the great Antony Tudor and Donald Sadler, with a degree in ballet and modern dance. Even as a student, she was set apart as a beautiful, young dancer whose musicality and technique were dazzling. Her work continued in a steady and rapid flow.

MEllingtonbullhorn Tapology2018In 1952 she broke the color barrier on national television in the sixties by appearing on the Jackie Gleason Show as one of the June Taylor Dancers. She was on the show for seven years, eventually became captain of the troupe and June Taylor became and remained a mentor to Mercedes throughout her career. Shortly after her television tenure, she launched her Broadway career as a featured and chorus dancer in No, No Nanette (1971), Oh Kay! (1991), Happy New Year (1980), The Grand Tour (1979), and Harry Chapin's The Night That Made America Famous (1985). She was also featured in George Wein's Jazz Festival productions Black Broadway and Wild Women Don't Get the Blues. In 1981 she starred with Gregory Hines, Judith Jamison, Hinton Battle and Gregg Burge in Sophisticated Ladies, dancing eight times a week with her father conducting an orchestra playing music by her grandfather. Performing led to choreographic and directorial assignments, nationally and internationally. Her role as choreographer for the Broadway production of Play On! (1997), a takeoff of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night set in Harlem during the latter part of its first renaissance, and with music by Duke Ellington, won her a Tony nomination.

From 1982 to 1992 Ms. Ellington was the artistic director of Balletap, USA, aka DancEllington. In 2001, for Black Heritage Month, she directed Four Women, a profile of the wives of Louis Armstrong. In 2002 she contributed her services for the same cause with a salute to Langston Hughes called Cotton Club Rhapsody at New York's Club La Mama. She also directed the Broadway Cares/ Equity fights AIDS Tribute to the Spirit of Harlem in 2001; and in 2004 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Nothin' Like a Dame. Ms. Ellington also choreographed/staged Queen Esther Marrow's Walk Tall Gospel Show which received a five-star rating in Berlin and a European tour. In 2009 Ms. Ellington was honored with a FloBert Lifetime Achievement Award by the New York Committee to Celebrate National Tap Dance Day.

With the multitude of theatrical and choreographic credits, and her continuing tours with small and large musical celebrations of the music of Duke Ellington which she conceives, directs, and choreographs, Ms Ellington most humbly describes herself as "A Composer of Dances and Situations."

[Sources: Maurice Curry, Introduction to the 2009 FloBert Award Ceremonies, Tap Extravaganza, New York City, June 16, 2009; Constance Valis Hill, Tap Dancing America, A Cultural History (2010)]