From The Audience- Harlem Stage Dance

"From The Audience" is a new series on the Operation: Tap Blog that features experiences from tap dancers at LIVE TAP EVENTS throughout the world. This will hopefully serve as a much needed written record of the experience of attending a live show and passing this on for all of us not in attendance!  This past weekend OPTAP asked our special guest contributor, Hillary-Marie Michael to write about her experience seeing Jason Samuels Smith’s new work, "Going The Miles"! Enjoy!

Jason Samuels Smith premiered his new work Going The Miles in collaboration with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Derick K. Grant, Igmar Thomas (trumpet) and Alex Hernandez (bass) on Thursday, April 7th at Harlem Stage (NYC) as a part of E-Moves. 

The show was a beautiful combination of tap dance, jazz, live music and improvisation in celebration of world-renowned American Jazz musician Miles Davis. Weaving in and out of choreography and improvisation, the heads of the tunes Joshua, Will O' The Wisp and Easy Living were masterfully choreographed and then each artist had their own improvised choruses to flex and share their individual voices. Additionally, Dormeshia shared a one-on-one conversation with trumpeter Igmar and Derick with bassist Alex, both playful and brilliant exhibitions of their technical ability, musical approach and overall expert artfulness. 

With this sophisticated and energetic blend of artistry, the audience couldn't help but have just as much fun as the artists on the stage. Together, we smiled, laughed, applauded, shouted out, and were taken on a musical journey, a tap dance odyssey that culminated in an expert soft shoe that left us all in a standing ovation, wanting more. There's no doubt that every musician and tap dancer in the audience left the theater inspired and ready to shed. I walked away energized, educated, elevated and excited for all who were involved in the production. It was truly an awesome representation of tap dance. 

Program Notes:

Going The Miles takes a step further than simply tributing Mr. Davis, one of the world's greatest American jazz artists who was at the forefront of many of its most important movements. Jason Samuels Smith in collaboration with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Derick K. Grant, Igmar Thomas and Alex Hernandez, engage on this musical odyssey, celebrating the diversity of contributions that you respective cultures and collective consciousness continues to make through two of the world's most thriving American art forms. Each musicians in their own right, this new work emphasizes interplay inspired by three of Miles iconic tunes, highlighting just why "improvisation" is still the highest expression of these forms. 

will-o'-the-wisp (noun) a phosphorescent light seen hovering or floating at night over marshy ground, thought to result from the combustion of natural gases, ignis fatuus. Or, a person or thing that is difficult or impossible to find, reach, or catch. 

Music included original arrangements of Joshua from album Seven Steps to Heaven (1963), Will O' The Wisp from album Sketches of Spain (1960) and Easy Living from album Blue Moods (1955). 

To take class with Jason Samuels Smith, Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards, and our author Hillary-Marie Michael make sure to check out OPTAP's Festival Feature of Jersey Tap Fest! All three will be teaching!