July-Aug Rhythm World
Chicago Human Rhythm Project's annual festival of
American tap--the oldest and most comprehensive of its kind--July 27-
Aug. 9 at several venues in downtown Chicago. Week-long residencies
with tap masters, classes and workshops with a range of expert
instructor/performers and a series of performances, ranging from tap
slam competitions to a free concert in Millennium Park are among the
RHYTHM WORLD TAKES OVER DOWNTOWN CHICAGO JULY 27–AUGUST 9
Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s 19th Annual Festival Takes Place at
Jay Pritzker Pavilion,
Cultural Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, Fine Arts Building,
CHICAGO—The peak of summer in Chicago will offer the peak of tap
festivals when the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP), the world’s
only year-round presenter of American tap dance and contemporary
percussive arts, presents Rhythm World, the oldest and most
comprehensive festival of American tap in the world. Now in its 19th
year of performance and education programs, Rhythm World takes place
July 27–August 9 throughout downtown Chicago, including the Jay
Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, the Fine Arts Building, Chicago
Cultural Center, Museum=2 0of Contemporary Art and Roosevelt University.
CHRP Founder and Director Lane Alexander returns to the
director’s seat after three years of guest direction by Jason
Samuels Smith, Dianne Walker and Derick Grant. As always, this
year’s Rhythm World will feature perennial favorites, including
Bessie Award winner Sam Weber and Broadway diva Dormeshia Sumbry-
Edwards, alongside new and emerging artists, including Jason Janus, a
principal of the Texas tap repertory company Tapestry, and Chloe
Arnold, founder and director of the Los Angeles Tap Fest.
Rhythm World begins July 27 with intensive residencies led by Sam
Weber and Derick Grant at the Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan
Ave., and members of Step Afrika! at the Museum of Contemporary Art
(MCA), 220 E. Chicago Ave. Weber, a Bessie Award winner and former
Joffrey 2 member, is internationally recognized as one of the
greatest tap virtuosos of all time as well as a master choreographer
and master teacher. Grant was an original company member and dance
captain for Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk and recently toured
the country with his creation A Night Out: Tap!. Step Afrika!, based
in Washington, D.C., is the first professional company in the world
dedicated to the tradition of stepping, and they will make their full-
company Chicago debut on CHRP8 0s Global Rhythms program at the Harris
Theater in November 2009.
Courses, workshops and master classes take place August
3–9 at the Fine Arts Building and Roosevelt University, 430 S.
Michigan Ave. The highly respected faculty of master teachers, in
addition to Weber, Grant and members of Step Afrika!, includes CHRP
Director Lane Alexander, Chloe Arnold, Julie Cartier, Idella Reed
Davis, CHRP Associate Director Martin “Tre” Dumas, Ray Hesselink,
Jason Janas, Gene Medler, Billy Siegenfeld, Jason Samuels Smith,
Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Dianne “Lady Di” Walker and Mark Yonally.
Now in its eighth year, CHRP’s annual Youth Tap
Ensemble Conference (YTEC) takes place August 3–7 at the Fine Arts
Building. PrepTEC, a new component in this year’s YTEC, offers
younger members of the pre-professional repertory companies an
opportunity to benefit from the expertise available during Rhythm
World. More than 120 dancers between the ages of 12 and 19,
representing 14 youth tap ensembles from the U.S., China, Brazil,
Canada, Panama and other locations, will gather to study new
choreography, technique, improvisation and theatre-related topics.
YTEC participants will learn three new works by Jason Janus,
Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and Step Afrika! while the PrepTEC students
will learn an historical dance from Dianne Walker20created by her
mentor, native Chicagoan Leon Collins.
An expanded Kids Program August 5–7 at the Fine Arts
Building offers intermediate tappers ages nine through 12 a
curriculum including oral and video histories, tap technique classes,
improvisation instruction and individual development of style and
To register for any of the education programs, visit
chicagotap.org or call 773-281-1825.
CHRP kicks off a week of performances with its second annual free
performance featuring Rhythm World faculty, YTEC participants and
special guests Sunday, August 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Jay Pritzker
Pavilion in Millennium Park, as part of the City of Chicago’s summer
music and dance performance series. Chicago’s finest tap repertory
companies will perform, including CHRP’s ensemble BAM!, Jump Rhythm
Jazz Project, Jus’ LisTeN and Chicago Tap Theatre, as well as last
year’s smashing percussion/dance group, Be the Groove.
The week continues with a Tap Jam, a fun, free evening of
improvisation by Rhythm World participants Monday, August 3 at the
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Tuesday, August 4 is a
double-header evening featuring the Tap Slam and the Cutting Contest
at 7:30 p.m. at Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall, 430 S. Michigan
Ave., 7th floor. The Tap Slam puts the spotlight on 10 group or
individual Rhythm World participants competing for the Tap Slam entry
fees; the audience votes to determine the winner. The Cutting
Contest, an improvisation competition, pits 16 of the hottest young
tap dancers against each other in a foot-to-foot combat tournament. A
select panel of Rhythm World faculty members will judge the
competition and the winner will receive the Contest entry fees. A
student showcase performance takes place Wednesday, August 5 at 7:30
p.m., also at Ganz Hall. Admission to the August 4 and 5 evenings is
$5 each at the door or in advance at chicagotap.org.
Rhythm World culminates with CHRP’s annual performances, “JUBA!
Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance,” featuring a host of
extraordinary foot drummers on Thursday, August 6 and Saturday,
August 8 at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s MCA Stage, 220 E.
Chicago Ave. Thursday’s performance includes Emmy Award winner Jason
Samuels Smith, Broadway diva Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and renowned
choreographer Chloe Arnold, joined by CHRP Founder and Director Lane
Alexander and CHRP's ensemble BAM!. Saturday’s performance includes
the Ella Fitzgerald of American tap, Dianne “Lady Di” Walker,
alongside tap virtuoso and Bessie Award winner Sam Weber, wunderkind
Jason Janas and Chicago’s finest=2 0tap ensembles. Both performances
also feature guest artists from around the world and live music by
the Vijay Tellis-Nayak Trio. Single tickets are $30, $25 for Rhythm
World participants and MCA members.
For complete Rhythm World information, visitchicagotap.org or call
773-281-1825. For tickets to “JUBA!” performances, call
312-397-4010 or visit mcachicago.org.
CHRP’s 2009 season concludes with Global Rhythms and Thanks 4
Giving, a series of shared revenue, contemporary percussive arts
performances featuring the Chicago debut of Washington D.C.’s Step
Afrika!, November 19, 20, 21 at the Harris Theater for Music and
Dance in Millennium Park.
CHRP’s 2009 season is supported by The MacArthur Fund for the Arts
and Culture at the Prince, The Chicago Community Trust, Prince
Charitable Trusts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Target,
American Airlines, Leo’s Dancewear, The Illinois Arts Council, The
Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg Family Foundation, The Gaylord and
Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Jerome and Jeanette Cohen Family
Foundation, The Oppenheimer Family Foundation, L!VE Marketing (sic),
Charter One Bank, the Illinois Arts Council, the City of Chicago
Department of Cultural Affairs, the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation,
Arts Midwest, The The Dr. Scholl Foundation, American Overseas
Transport, L and L20Hardwood Flooring and generous individual donors.
All programming is subject to change. For information, visit
Founded in 1990, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project is America’s
oldest institution dedicated to preserving, presenting and teaching
tap and percussive dance by bringing together generations of tap
dance legends, professionals, students and enthusiasts for classes,
performances and workshops. CHRP has four artistic focuses:
presenting world-class dance concerts, building a permanent
educational forum for tap and percussive dance, sustaining the art
form through preservation and documentation and promoting respect and
appreciation between various communities by presenting ethnically and
aesthetically diverse artists.
All programming is subject to change. For information visit