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Saturday, July 18, 2009

July - Aug Rhythm World

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

festival's activities.


Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s 19th Annual Festival Takes Place at

Jay Pritzker Pavilion,

Cultural Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, Fine Arts Building,

Roosevelt University

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.

Education Programs

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 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

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, or call

773-281-1825. For tickets to “JUBA!” performances, call

312-397-4010 or visit

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

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