Dorrance Dance In Concert Taps Into Boston’s Love Of Dance

Posted January 13, 2017 by Cheryl Fenton in Theater & Arts
Dorrance Dance shows this weekend only at Cutler Majestic. Photo Credit: Ian Douglas

This is not your childhood shuffle ball change.

Dorrance Dance in Concert takes the stage at Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre for a weekend of January 13 through 15. Just the fact that the company’s first performance won a Bessie Award for “blasting open our notions of tap” obviously is enough to prove this will be more than just a typical dance show.

Choreographed by artist director Michelle Dorrance, Dorrance Dance in Concert pushes all the limits of rhythm, with mind-blowing solos, a few duets, and loads of ensembles. The performances highlight this award-winning choreographer’s works, with break-out vignettes such as the exciting bare-bones 13-dancer SOUNDspace and Myelination, 12 dancers who work in unison to bring hip hop back to tap alongside a full instrumental band and vocalists.

Similar to the dancers’ unpredictable yet exciting movements, the music is all over the place, ranging from Fiona Apple to the Squirrel Nut Zippers, from bluegrass to The Beatles. But this is the humor and charm, the cleverness and thoughtfulness that Dorrance is typically known for in her performances. She and her dancers, hovering around 14 in number from past show notes, move around the stage in everything from colorful street wear to mysterious black tulle, clad in tap shoes and sometimes even bare feet.

Dorrance Dance

Dorrance Dance in Concert pushes all the limits of rhythm. Photo Credit: Ian Douglas

So who exactly is Michelle Dorrance, you ask? If you’ve ever followed the world of American tap, you can tap out because you probably already know. If you don’t, she’s the one you saw on the Late Show with Steve Colbert with Jon Batiste and Stay Human that defied anything and everything you knew about movement and sound. Dorrance is based in New York, where she is a tap dancer, teacher, choreographer, and the artistic director extraordinaire who founded Dorrance Dance / New York in the spring of 2011 after dedicating 30 years to the dance form of tap.

Mentored by Gene Medler, a world-renowned master of American Tap himself , Dorrance has a performance resumé that will stop you in your tracks. It includes performing with STOMP, Savion Glover’s company Ti Dii, Manhattan Tap, Ayodele Casel’s Diary of a Tap Dancer, and Charlie’s Angels/Chasing the Bird, choreographed by Jason Samuels Smith. When she’s not kicking up her heels on stage, others are following her lead through her choreography that has been featured around the world and even on film (peep the high fashion short film she did for Tabitha Simmons’ 2011 Fall fashion line).  The New York Times called her “the most exciting and original choreographer in tap today.” In 2015, Dorrance won the coveted MacArthur “Genius” Grant.

All of this translates to a traveling show of her choreography and talented performers that will elevate your notion of what tap dancers are capable of. And while it seems there isn’t anything this tap dancer can’t do, Dorrance’s company can do only one thing – tap into your love of dance and knock you right out of your shoes.

Showtimes are 8pm on Friday, January 13, and Saturday, January 14, and 3pm on
Sunday, January 15. The Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre is located at 219 Tremont Street in Boston.