Monday, April 20, 2015

Savion Glover

Hi everyone,

If you think you're not a fan of tap dancing, Savion Glover will change your mind. I first became aware of Savion Glover in the late '80s and '90s when he showed up dancing in Coke commercials. He became more well known after meeting mentor Gregory Hines and winning a Tony for his choreography for the Broadway show Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk. You can even find him in some films like Tap, costarring Gregory Hines, and Bamboozled, directed by Spike Lee. If you want to hear more about his life and work, check out this video, in which he talks about his start and mission.

Savion Glover dances like no one else and to see him perform in person is always an unforgettable experience. By now, I've seen him a few times in the D.C. area. He once performed at Howard Theatre with jazz pianist McCoy Tyner accompanying him. After Trayvon Martin was killed, Savion Glover provided an intense, emotional performance at Warner Theatre that commented solely on that tragic event. Most recently, I saw him in two equally amazing, entirely different shows.

Savion Glover, Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C., August 23, 2014

Yeah, I was this close.
For this general admission show, I arrived about an hour ahead of time. Those of us who were early and waited in line in the lobby for the doors to open were treated to hearing Savion Glover practice his routines up to two minutes before the doors opened. 

Because I arrived so early, my seat was in the front row, center, flush with the stage. I'd never been so close, looking up at the dancer as he stares into space and sweats like an athlete. Savion Glover gets in the zone! When he first came out, he picked up a microphone to welcome us but instead started to dance. He continued for at least 20 minutes, holding on to that microphone. When he finally stopped, he greeted us with, "I guess I should say something now." 

During another piece, he and the drummer battled. The drummer played increasingly complicated beats and Savion Glover repeated them perfectly through tap. Another tapper, Marshall Davis, Jr., joined him once in a while during this show, but for the most part, Savion Glover danced solo.

I shared my table with some friendly fellow fans who somehow talked their way into meeting and getting photos with the man! Can you believe I was in with that cool crowd?

STePz, Strathmore, Bethesda, Maryland, February 6, 2015

Six months later, on February 6, 2015, Savion Glover performed at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland. For this show, titled STePz, my seat was about six rows from the stage. While the other show seemed more improvised, this show felt slick and polished. Set to a variety of recorded music, each piece covered different dance styles, such as jazz, tango, and ballet, and nodded important moments in dance history, including tributes to Bill Robinson and Michael Jackson.

Photo © Lois Greenfield
Compared to the previous show, this one more prominently featured other tappers Marshall Davis, Jr., Lisa LaTouche, Robyn Watson, and Sarah Savelli and group performances, some of which didn't even include Savion Glover at all.

Toward the back of the stage, a center platform with three steps leading up to it was flanked by two pyramid-style steps on either side. In one piece, Savion Glover and Marshall Davis, Jr., took on the pyramid steps, having a conversation through their taps. In another piece, the ladies saluted Broadway and jazz in glittery costumes with a routine featuring the stairs. Savion Glover shined during his solo tribute to Bill Robinson, during which he mimicked the hoofer's signature dance moves and walk. During another piece, he and the other dancers stood in a line spanning the stage while dialogue played on the stereo, he tapped with one foot at warp speed without moving the rest of his body. (It wasn't until at least half way through that I realized who was doing the tapping.) The show culminated with the entire group dancing to Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" in a routine that ended with all of them in a super-hero pose – one arm stretched high, punching the air and striving for higher ground.  

I can pick more adjectives, like spectacular, exhilarating, magical, and awesome, but you have to see this guy for yourself. While video can barely capture the energy in the room when experiencing Savion Glover in person, here's a taste of STePz:

YouTube video, © Savion Glover Productions, Savion Glover's STePz:

What are you waiting for? Go see Savion Glover when you can! He'll change your life for the better.


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