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Tip Top Tap

Tap and percussive dance is hip, energetic and delightfully noisy. Thanks in part to the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, it's enjoying a revival.

This uniquely American dance form – the melding of Irish and African traditions – has found new life during the past 30 years, in film, on the Broadway stage and at international festivals. The Chicago Human Rhythm Project organizes one of world's largest gatherings each summer, where master teachers lead workshops and pass dance traditions along to younger generations, and a variety of major tap artists perform in the evenings.

Founder Lane Alexander is one such top tapper, known worldwide as a master teacher and performer. Two other Chicagoans, Ernest "Brownie" Brown and his current dance partner, Reggio "the Hoofer" Mclaughlin, also perform and educate young people. At 90, Brown is still dancing the "Chair Dance," a classic routine he performed as an original member of the Copasetics, the famous Harlem club formed in 1949 in memory of the great black entertainer, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

CHRP celebrates National Tap Day on May 25th each year with a tribute to a tap legend, and in 2006, the spotlight was on Brown.

Address

Chicago Human Rhythm Project, 2936 N Southport, Chicago, IL, 60657

Click here for directions

Related Links

Find out more about the history of tap on the Tap Dance Homepage.

Check out a 2001 Dance Magazine article about Lane Alexander and find out what keeps him moving.

Read how Reggio McLaughlin got started tapping in the subways of Chicago.

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Related Video

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Watch Reggio "the Hoofer" McLaughlin and Ernest "Brownie" Brown lead a tap class.

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Reggio "the Hoofer" McLaughlin and Ernest "Brownie" Brown lead their Libertyville and Chicago students through the classic "Chair Dance" on Arts Across Illinois: CenterStage in 2004.

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Find out how the Chicago Human Rhythm Project keeps tap and percussive dance moving forward by looking back.

 

Related Podcasts

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Dance Podcast

Festivals Podcast

 

Related Images

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Reggio "the Hoofer" McLaughlin and his partner, Ernest "Brownie" Brown.

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Chicago Human Rhythm Project founder Lane Alexander. Photo by Kristie Kahns.

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Dancers get hopping during CHRP's production of Sheketak.

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From CHRP's production, Tapeplas.

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Internationally acclaimed tapper, Diane "Lady Di" Walker.

 

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