Tag Archive: tap dance

A tap dance extraordinaire and an Indian dance afficianado walked into a radio station.


Jason Samuels Smith and Pandit Chitresh Dash were featured on the radio program “The Story” with Dick Gordon from American Public Media on Oct. 20.The partnership started with a, shall we say, foot-focused conversation: Dash heard Smith practicing at the American Dance Festival and replied with percussive footwork of his own. The music continued from there.

To them, though, it’s not necessarily a fusion of the two styles as much as a juxtaposition of the similarities and differences between Kathak, Dash’s dance specialty, and Samuels’ tap. The result is a complex, complementary melody of percussion and rhythm.

And, as most dancers will attest, it’s not just about music; the two speak eloquently about rhythm, art, politics, culture and math as well. To listen to the story, click on the link here for the APM podcast. (Skip to about 31:45 for the Smith/Dash interview.)

Smith and Dash will be collaborating on a show called “India Jazz Suites” this weekend at the Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater in Los Angeles. Follow the link here for more information about the performances.


And who taught them to tap dance?

Gregory Filler, an alum of the international phenomenon Tap Dogs (and many other shows), hoofed it up at The Rock Center for Dance on July 28.

The tap was excellent. The rhythms were delightful. And,  despite Vegas’ proximity to famed dance-city Los Angeles, the flavor of the class was subtly Big Apple.

Something about Filler’s clipped accent and arching eyebrows seemed to tip a hat to some of the old-school teachers in New York. Jeans and a t-shirt, the nonchalant tapper’s unofficial uniform, completed the look and rang pleasantly of the Tap Dogs persona.

“I have a million things I can teach you,” Filler said at the beginning of class. Ultimately, he settled on five components of that million. Each one of the five was a pattern, and each pattern was musically designed to complement the others.

When executed together, the steps defied the common notion that percussion isn’t a melodious form of music. The downbeats were cleverly synchronized and the different pitches in each pattern created an orchestrated excellence.

It felt like singing in the shower. Or, better yet, singing in the shower with a bunch of other people harmonizing alongside you. Everything fit, and the vaguely mathematical part of a tap dancer’s brain reveled in that.

Sound pleasant? The minds behind Tap Dogs thought so too – the choreography Filler taught in class was directly from the Tap Dogs show. Filler’s advice in a nutshell: Don’t forget this. Ever.

So whether that shower happens to be in LA, New York or Boulder City (where Filler currently teaches) grab that shampoo bottle, find a fellow rhythm nut and enjoy the music. There’s nothing like it.