Rhythm World set to rock Chicago

Chicago Human Rhythm ProjectChicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) will present the 27th annual summer festival of American tap and percussive dance, Rhythm World, on July 17-23. Featuring three generations of hoofers, including tap giants Savion Glover and Maurice Hines, Rhythm World will take place at the American Rhythm Center, Studebaker Theater, Jazz Showcase and, new this year, the Polk Bros Performance Lawns at Navy Pier.


Rhythm World will feature a wide-ranging array of tap luminaries, including alumni from its 20+-year old Tap Scholar program, as well as the first-ever STOMP Intensive led by STOMP cast members Ali Bradley and Jeremy Price.


In the second year of the Root and Branch five-year cycle, CHRP’s annual summer festival, directed by CHRP Founder and Director Lane Alexander, shines the spotlight on the talented performers, choreographers and teachers who have “grown up” with CHRP and the masters who first inspired them.


“The teenagers who studied with us 10, 15 and 20 years ago are not teenagers anymore,” said Alexander. “They are winning MacArthur Fellowship (Genius) Awards (Michelle Dorrance), choreographing on Broadway and with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (Jared Grimes), performing in historic Broadway revivals (Lee Howard and Karissa Royster) and making new works that are revolutionizing our art form (Jumaane Taylor’s Supreme Love and Zada Cheeks’ Diabolus). Perhaps most important, one dancer, Dani Borak, is returning as a multi-year Artist in Residence to provide new and fresh artistic direction for CHRP.”


Alexander continued, “We are devoting the summer festival to exploring the ways their inspirations are affecting the work they are creating now. Former Tap Scholars and CHRP ensemble members returning to teach and perform this year include Jumaane Taylor, Lee Howard, Tristan Bruns and Lisa LaTouche.”


Rhythm World performances will open with the annual appearance at the Jazz Showcase, located at 806 S. Plymouth Court. It will feature faculty accompanied by a jazz trio on Monday, July 17 at 8 p.m.


Two audience favorites, the improv tournament, or “cutting contest,” and the student showcase will take place Tuesday, July 18 with faculty judges choosing the winners who will vie for the honor of performing on one of the two weekend performances at the Studebaker Theater.


New this year, Rhythm World master teachers and students will perform free to the public on Navy Pier’s brand-new Polk Bros. Performance Lawns on Wednesday, July 19.


The JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance concerts, the crowning events of Rhythm World, will feature a host of extraordinary foot drummers and percussive arts masters on Friday and Saturday, July 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Studebaker Theater at the Fine Arts Building, located at 410 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago.


The JUBA! Friday program will feature a world premiere by CHRP’s new Artist in Residence, Dani Borak; solo performances by former Tap Scholars, including Jumaane Taylor and former CHRP ensemble member Tristan Bruns; STOMP alumna and Broadway hoofer (Shuffle Along) Lisa LaTouche; and members of percussive dance ensembles featured in CHRP’s citywide festival STOMPING GROUNDS, including Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, Muntu Dance Theatre and Trinity Irish Dance Company.


The JUBA! Saturday program will present Borak and LaTouche again, as well as Martin “Tre” Dumas and more.


Tickets to the Jazz Showcase and JUBA! performances are $10-55. They went on sale on May 25, National Tap Dance Day. Performances sell out every year so early purchase is advised. Visit www.chicagotap.org for more information.


Photo collage (from left to right): Savion Glover by Savion Glover Productions; Maurice Hines by Scott Schuman; Maud Arnold by William Frederking at the American Rhythm Center; Lane Alexander by Christiano Prim. Image courtesy of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project.