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Broadway at Duke: In Classical Savion, Tap Dancer Extraordinaire Savion Glover Performs to Classical Music

February 27, 2005 - Durham, NC:


Tuesday evening, Broadway at Duke will present African-American tap dancer extraordinaire Savion Glover, performing Classical Savion, in Page Auditorium. Glover, who won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Choreography for Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk, was a tap-dance prodigy who made his Broadway debut, at age 12, in The Tap Dance Kid.

SFJAZZ writes, “Hailed as ‘the greatest tap dancer to ever lace up a pair of Capezios, or any other tap shoes’ by the late tap master Gregory Hines, Savion Glover is a ‘knockout performer’ (Washington Post) ‘who seamlessly glides from one style to another.’ A onetime prodigy …, Glover landed a runaway hit in 1996 as the star and Tony-winning choreographer of the hip-hop-infused Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk. As USA Weekly wrote of the touring production: ‘Savion Glover is changing the way people think about dance.… The movement is so beautifully organic, the steps so unpredictable, it appears to be completely improvised.’”

In reviewing Classical Savion, Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times wrote, “Savion Glover is not the first to tap-dance to classical music, but the stunning intensity he brings to Classical Savion… makes the evening a revelation for eye and ear alike. Mr. Glover performs virtually nonstop for two hours, mostly with an ensemble of classical musicians conducted by Robert Sadin but also with a jazz group, the Otherz, whose improvisations occasionally get some classical music input.”

She added, “Acting as the great unifier, Mr. Glover suggests that whatever the idiom it’s all music. Well, yes, but one doesn’t usually hear Bach almost drowned out by a big percussive beat. At the other extreme, the opening number to four excerpts from Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ is astounding. The expected virtuosic display from Mr. Glover is as nuanced as ever, but it is also a piece of live musical analysis. What you hear, as you usually don’t in the concert hall, is the rhythmic structure in Vivaldi that Mr. Glover’s tap rhythms offer both in dialogue with the music and as parallel annotation.”

Deborah Jowitt of The Village Voice wrote, “Glover acknowledges his debts to tap masters of old and to the late, great Gregory Hines, whose picture graces the onstage piano, but he’s something else. Hunkered down, arms any old way, hands sometimes flapping loose, dreadlocked hair flying, sweat dripping, he uses his feet as if they were fingers. Vivaldi is a great playmate for him. Glover sneaks around in four selections from the pastoral tone poem, testing their ground doubling some of the composer’s rhythms and subtly syncopating others. He may patter in place during light moments in ‘Autumn,’ or whip the rollicking dance of the third movement along with jumps and toe-taps. I’m oversimplifying. The complicated percussion that Glover draws from his intensely listening soul and translates to the floor beggars description.”

Broadway at Duke presents Classical Savion®, Tuesday, March 1, at 8 p.m. in Page Auditorium on Duke University’s West Campus in Durham, North Carolina. $35-$45 ($15-$25 Duke students). 919-684-4444 or http://tickets.duke.edu/. Broadway at Duke: http://www.duke.edu/web/duu/broadway/shows.html#bad [inactive 11/06]. Savion Glover: http://www.ibdb.com/person.asp?ID=1188 or http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0323174/.