Savion Glover, tap phenomenon
Last night, renowned tap dancer and choreographer Savion
Glover performed to a full house in Pickard Theater. If students were
unable to procure tickets for the performance, they have another chance
to see him today at Common Hour where Glover will both lecture and perform.
Glover's kinetic talents were apparent even during his youth
in Newark, New Jersey. By the age of two, Glover and his older brothers
were beating rhythms out of everything. "Walls, pots, closet doors.
We'd get different sounds out of everything," Glover reminisces.
Noticing his talent, Glover's mother enrolled him in a Suzuki drumming
class at the age of four and a half. Shortly thereafter, an audition was
arranged for the Newark Community School of the Arts and it resulted in
him becoming the youngest recipient of a scholarship in the school's history.
When he was seven, Glover began show tap lessons, at the
Broadway Dance Center in New York. And after seeing Chuck Green and Lon
Chaney's exhibition of rhythm tap, he knew what he wanted to do.
It was not long before Glover turned his tap dancing into
a profession, doing shows, films and specials. When he was eleven years
old he made his debut as the star of "The Tap Dance Kid" on
Broadway. He also was in "Black and Blue" in Paris, in 1987,
a role for which he received a Tony nomination. Glover played opposite
Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines in the film "Tap" at the young
age of fifteen. In this movie he was cast as the "heir apparent"
of tap dance. In 1991, he received the Martin Luther King Jr. Outstanding
Youth Award. In 1992, he raised the roof dancing with his mentor, Gregory
Hines, in "Jelly's Last Jam"; this time earning himself a nomination
for the Drama Desk Award for best actor. He then spent a year on the road
touring with Maurice Hines, Gregory's brother, in "Jelly's Last Jam".
Glover also had a five year stint on "Sesame Street" among many
other television appearances including Dance In America: Tap! with Gregory
Hines and Tommy Tune. By the age of nineteen he was able to buy a four-bedroom
house for his mother in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, in which he occupies
a large wood paneled basement apartment.
His teachers include Jimmy Slyde, Gregory Hines, Henry Le
Tang, Chuck Green, Lon Chaney, Honi Coles, Sammy Davis Jr., James (Buster)
Brown, and Arthur Duncan. These lessons were not lost on Savion, he absorbed
everything. "I call him the sponge. He learns very quickly,"
says Le Tang, one of his many teachers. In this way he is almost a "living
repository of rhythm," as George C. Wolfe, the director of "Bring
In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk", puts it.
Now 23 years old, Glover is single-handedly changing the
way tap is traditionally viewed. He received an endowment from the NEA,
making him the youngest recipient of an NEA grant in NEA history. Glover
recently performed at the Kennedy Center Honors in a tribute to the Nicholas
Brothers and appeared at the 1996 Academy Awards performing a tribute
to Gene Kelly. Just this year he became the youngest recipient of the
Dance Magazine Award. He is currently starring in "Bring In Da Noise,
Bring In Da Funk" on Broadway, a show which he choreographed and
conceived. He received two Tony nominations, out of the shows nine and
won the Tony for Best Choreography as well as a Drama Desk Award.
Today, Glvoer spends much of his spare time teaching tap
to kids. In fact, almost everything he does professionally is aimed at
spreading the word about tap. He wants everyone to know tap is alive and
out there. "I feel like it's one of my responsibilities to keep the
dance alive, to keep it out there, to keep the style," says Glover.
This is why he has set up Real Tap Skills and taught classes in all 65
cities he visited on the road when touring with "Jelly's Last Jam".
He also has plans to start a tap school for kids.
It is undeniable that Savion Glover has developed his own unique style of tap dance. With so much genius already pouring out of him, Glover himself says with conviction, "I don't think I've peaked yet."
-Courtesy of www.geocities.com