Operation: Tap had the privilege to sit down with Acia Gray, the director of the Soul To Sole Tap Festival in Austin, Texas! Find out everything you need to know about this amazing festival!
OPTAP: Where is Soul To Sole hosted this year? When will it be taking place?
S2S: Austin, TX / Tapestry Dance Company (4544 South Lamar Blvd. Suite 200, Austin, TX 78745 - 512-695-6560 / REGISTRATION OPEN NOW @ www.tapestry.org
OPTAP: How many years has Soul To Sole been taking place?
S2S: As one of the oldest tap festivals in the world, this is the 16th year of The Soul to Sole Festival but the 25th year of Tapestry hosting a festival! Soul to Sole’s first “name” - The Austin Tap Jam
OPTAP: What for you makes Soul To Sole a unique experience among all of the events available to tap dancers?
S2S: Soul to Sole is a very comfortable, non-competitive and loving atmosphere to share rhythm, choreography, stories and technique with mature dancers and teens from around the world! Founded first with the living legends of the field and the leading pioneers of tap on the concert stage - Faculty and performers have included tap legends Fayard Nicholas, Jeni Legon, Harold Cromer as well as living legends Brenda Bufalino (American Tap Dance Orchestra), Jane Goldberg and Dianne Walker as well as leading pioneers of the field including Lynn Dally (Jazz Tap Ensemble), Heather Cornell (Manhattan Tap), Linda Sohl-Donnell (Rapsody in Taps), Tony Waag (NYC Tap Festival), Lane Alexander (Chicago Human Rhythm Project), Sarah Petronio, Roxanne Butterfly, Nicholas Young (Tapestry Dance Company - protege of Acia Gray) and Michelle Dorrance (one of the premiere’s of Dorrance Dance!) among many, many more! Founded also around Tapestry Dance Company - the only full time professional repertory tap company worldwide), Soul to Sole sets a foundation and focus for concert dance, history and individual expression for all levels from Beginning thru Professional! Non-commercial / Non-competitive. AND Austin is the live music capitol of the world!
OPTAP: Who will be apart of the faculty this year?
S2S: Tony Waag, Lane Alexander, Heather Cornell, Ayodele Casel, Acia Gray, Nicholas Young, Nicole Hockenberry, Anthony Morigerato, Siobhan Cook, Andrea Torres and Jeremy Arnold.
OPTAP: What level of tap dancer and age is this event geared towards?
S2S: Our average dancers are young and older adults and teens. Rare exceptions with higher level dancers under the age of 13.
OPTAP: Are there performance opportunities for the participants? or a Performance for the participants to attend?
S2S: Yes! There is our “Rhythm Showcase” held on the Friday night of the festival at The Rollins Theatre / The Long Center. Video submissions are open now! Send information and video link to Soulsfeet@mac.com. “Friends In Time” is our faculty concert with live music by the Soul to Sole Trio on Saturday night!
OPTAP: What special events will be taking place at the festival this year?
S2S: Opening night tap jam, two evening concerts, video showings, “Sore Feat Breakfast and Panel Discussion” on Sunday morning as well as a closed (but historically archived) Faculty Conservatory discussing the “State of the Art” and in past year’s the work and development of a chosen master (past has included Fayard Nicholas, Brenda Bufalino and more).
OPTAP: What is the classroom experience/vibe at Soul To Sole? Class size? Class length? Topics? Etc?
S2S: This year’s festival will offer 57 (1.5 hour) classes that are capped at 25 participants each with levels at Adv Beg, INT, INT/ADV and ADV/PRO LEVELS. There are also morning classes in Music & Drum Foundations, Swing Dance and Jazz. Also SIX Three day Workshops (4.5 hours total) in the following:
NICOLE HOCKENBERRY - Skills, Drills & Progressions (ADV BEG) Learn new skills; secure them with drills & progress in your new found love of tap dance!
HEATHER CORNELL - Working Polyrhythms (INT) Heather has been working with African griots and playing Djembe and Balafon for over 20 years. Uncovering the mysteries of the polyrhythms inherent in this music can unlock a whole new approach to building your technique and becoming fluent as an improviser. Don’t wait too long to incorporate these concepts into your training. Polyrhythms are the foundation of so much of the music that you are already dancing to!
ANTHONY MORIGERATO - The Magic of Oscar Peterson (INT/ADV) Join Anthony for a class working with the tonality, melody, and sophistication of Oscar Peterson.
TONY WAAG - The Art of Comic Dance (INT/ADV) New takes on comic hoofing, off center movement, irregular actions, traditional vaudeville styling and getting in touch with your inner clown.
NICHOLAS YOUNG - Layers & Textures (ADV/PRO) While developing grooves, pocket steps, and solo choreography, we will explore where tap dancers sit in the world of percussion and music. What is our frequency? How do we create room? What is our role in the musical landscape?
AYODELE CASEL - Latin Jazz Rhythm & Grooves (ADV/PRO) An exploration of phrases, grooves and choreography set to great classic Latin music.
Class Schedule for Soul To Sole!
OPTAP: What is the cost of attending Soul To SoleIs there a host hotel? What kind of opportunities are there for lodging? If I am coming from out of town do I need to rent a car to get around or is public transportation and walking an option for me?
S2S: A dancer can take a la carte classes at $35 each or purchase a level package that includes all classes in that level for $500.00 - a 30% or more savings depending on level! Neighborhood hotels are listed on the website at www.tapestry.org (Soul to Sole tab) with links to reserve. Renting a car is a good option (so much to see and EAT in Austin - but bus service is good! We also have HELPFUL SOULS at the festival that can help arrange volunteer transportation!
OPTAP: Choose one word to describe S2S.
For more information go to www.tapestry.org