As a percussive dancer, I’ve always been inspired by the musical likes of Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, and traditional music from Brazil, South Africa, Montreal and New Orleans. The relationship between music and dance is one that has history dating back to the inception of mankind, especially Jazz and Tap Dance.
For years, we have watched tap dancers and jazz musicians share the stage from the Nicolas Brothers and Cab Callow to Winton Marsalis and Jared Grimes. Tap dance and Jazz music has entertained, influenced and inspired our culture, art, film, and stage productions. At the tender age of 14 years old, I had the honor to perform next to classical composer Marvin Hamlisch and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. It opened my eyes to the many possibilities of tap dance and music past Jazz. A fusion of classical music with the swing of tap dance inspired me to explore other types of music to dance to.
While touring with Step Afrika!, I was introduced to New Orleans Brass music, a boastful sound full of passion and emotion. I remember sitting in the French Quarter, watching brass bands play, people second lining and young kids tap dancing with bottle tops on their shoes. I knew then there was a space for a fusion to be explored with my mash up of percussive dance. Tap dance in New Orleans is taking the same historic journey as tap did when it was first created in the USA, it’s a part of their culture as a street performers. Tap dance was a social expression performed in nightclubs and on the streets before it ever had a place on stage or in film.
After years of listening to bands such as Rebirth Brass Band, and Hot 8 Brass Band along with many visits to NOLA I wanted to create a funky fresh fusion of art to add to my “Percussical”. New Orleans Brass music meets tap dance and multimedia to take the audience on an excited ride of music, movement, and African America history. Old school was born.