TAPS Rhythm Factory of Gibsons held their first ever recital on May 30 and 31 at the Heritage Playhouse featuring 14 clickety-click routines by adult dancers.
“The majority of our dancers have never tried tap before,” said the dance studio’s instructor and tapper Wendy Campbell, who opened the studio last September and has managed to talk many beginners, including her own husband Phil Campbell, into learning this rhythmic art.
“Having a recital gives them the opportunity to do something they’ve never done before,” she said.
All ages were involved from 27 to 80-plus.
“Some step their way through the moves, and some are athletic,” she said.
The show opened with an intriguing series of archive film from the 1930s and ‘40s featuring the great tap stars: Bill Bojangles Robinson, Stump and Stumpy, the Nicholas Brothers — names we’ve forgotten today, but who displayed an incredible talent for entertaining.
The enthusiasm, if not the style, was captured by the TAPS students. Most of them danced with great joy and seemed to generate a similar feeling in the audience.
Five advanced students demonstrated rhythmic perfection on an a cappella number — probably the best act in the show. But the real standouts were the absolute tap dance beginners. Saturday Night Fever, a disco tap from Ann Allen, Nandine Seward and Maura McCappin, was 1970s cool. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy with Phil Campbell, Loraleigh Fitzgerald, Kelly Bagnall and Deanna Harvey was fun. Harvey, an enthusiastic beginner, also soloed on an old surfing number, Wipeout, tapping and drumming with great vitality.
Theatre performers George Grafton and Ed Smith showed their comedic flair along with Allen, and they managed a quick costume change during Puttin’ on the Ritz. Sandra Abraham, dressed in tough guy pinstripes and packing a gun, also soloed on Hey Pachuco, a kind of gangsta tap. This piece, along with Christine Sevigny’s clogging solo, showed that tap dance has many variations.
Wendy Campbell closed the show with a talented piece of choreography, Moves Like Jagger.
“You can’t keep me off the stage,” she had previously told Coast Reporter.
TAPS has opened another studio in Sechelt, and Campbell will be offering tap for all levels there as well as in Gibsons. She also offers a cardio tap class for fitness.
For more details, see www.adultsonlytap.com or call 604-886-6881.