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Savion Glover Wants to Kiss Alastair Macaulay

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A tidbit from The New York Post.

Glover responded: "Alastair Macaulay, I am going to give you a big fat kiss. Alastair Macaulay, what a dweeb" -- and then added he was "just kidding," reports Post dance critic Leigh Witchel.

Macaulay's review:


Not only dancers. Woodpeckers, electric drills and dental equipment seem amateurish beside the elaborately decorated, faster-than-fast trills of Mr. Glover's feet. At first you don't even realize he's dancing because it looks as if he's scarcely moving. Where, you wonder, is the noise coming from? From speakers relaying the sound of an amplified floor drummed by feet moving like hummingbirds.

This, however, is technique deranged. Mr. Glover's trademark is to display astonishingly rapid-fire meters that nonetheless lack rhythm or melody or any serious play of dynamic contrasts. Very occasionally he slows down to tap out a phrase you can identify. One of them on Monday seemed to go "Do-wah, diddy diddy dum, dum, dum," almost like the 1960s pop song by Manfred Mann. This is when a real tap musician would make the relative simplicity of the moment into something special, but Mr. Glover's inflection stayed flat: he couldn't caress the phrase into life.

Anybody see the show?

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It's not mentioned in The Post, but what made Glover's comments newsworthy was not the quote, but that it was delivered unprompted as the opening of a performance.

The curtain opened, Glover came out, tapped with his back to us for perhaps a minute or so and then said what I quoted.

I think he expected the audience to find it funny, but there was no reaction. It was said with no prelude or explanation, which might explain the audience's silence.

Rather than funny, it seemed like a very tense, strange moment.

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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.

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I saw Savion at the Joyce a few years ago and felt that he was no longer a dancer, but a percussive musical instrument, maybe even an entire percussion section.

I had seen him as a child, in "Tap Dance Kid," and a few other productions. At that point I was hoping that he would be the next Fred Astaire. But he is a singular artist and very much of NOW.

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