Posted 02 July 2010 - 05:26 AM
I saw the first half of Glover's show at the Joyce last night. (My husband was not feeling well, so we left at intermission.) The dancing was wonderrful, with fast and furious percussive footwork delivered by Savion. However, the show was odd insofar as Savion spent a great deal of time talking with the audience. He is not a good speaker, so this element of the show didn't work well. He started out by dancing with his back to the audience. He explained that he wanted the audience to focus on the footwork and the percussive sounds of the tap, rather than on his face. After the opening number, he performed the rest of the show in the usual manner, facing the audience. At one point the lights were turned out so that the audience would listen intently to the sounds of his footwork. He launched into listing all the great tap dancers that have preceeded him, and in faux dramatic fashion, kept saying "I am the son of (fill in tap dancer name); dance is my father." It was strange, and he doesn't have the dramatic heft to make this speech interesting. The speech went on for way too long. I wish he would have just stopped talking and simply dance. Overall, I would give the dance aspect of the show an A, and the other elements (spoken word, monotonous background music) a C. I also wanted to comment on the issues of musicality and his overall bearing. Savion has always been someone who intentionally set out to dance on his own terms. If people like Fred Astaire and the old time tappers were the model of elegance, line and grace, then Savion is intentionally the anti-Fred Astaire. His method is to focus solely on the percussive power and speed of his footwork. He has nver been interested in having elegant upper body lines. If you're interested in the old time tap show, this is not a show for you, and Savion will not be your cup of tea. He has always come out on stage with the dreads and the tee shirt, and he makes no apology for that. I accept him as a great tap artist,and I respect his choice to break out from the traditional presentation of tap. He is not "musical" because the music is often only background atmosphere; it generally does not form the basis or foundation for the percussive sounds he is tapping. In fact, in my opinion he needs no music. His feet supply the music. Literally, you can hear the dance.