Harvard TAPS Brings Back Childhood

April 19, 2011
Harvard TAPS gave an uplifting performance in their spring show “Forever Young” in Lowell Lecture Hall. The pieces together took up the subject of growing up with playfulness and enthusiasm. From the outset, the show invoked common moments of childhood, starting with the full cast in a piece set to the Sesame Street song. The familiar music and smooth choreography evoked the simple joy of tap dancing, with exuberance appropriate to the overall theme. The following piece, “Children,” choreographed and performed by TAPS seniors Jennifer Kurdyla ‘11, Paige Martin ‘11, and Zane Wruble ‘11, continued with the same theme, while at the same time stimulating the audience with a rhythmic, lively choreography.

Passing from early childhood to the adolescent years, the beautifully executed “Teenage Dream,” choreographed by Kurdyla, had a more lyrical feel.  Kurdyla’s choreography incorporated creative ports-de-bra, as well as a stronger emotional appeal to the audience, which set it apart from the concert’s various numbers. The unexpected choice of music worked well with the dance itself, as the sounds of the dancers’ tap shoes created a resounding and unique rhythm over the instrumental and vocal sounds, adding to the piece’s emotional aspect.

In contrast, Wruble’s piece “We R Who We R” was highly amusing and showcased the dancers’ versatility. The dancers proved able not only to evoke the emotion of “Teenage Dream,” but also Ke$ha’s unmistakable party spirit. The dynamic piece allowed the dancers to loosen up and simply have some fun, infusing the show with energy.

Perhaps the most impressive of TAPS’ numbers that night, “School is Out,” was unique for its integration of emotional depth with intricate choreography.  Dancers James Townshend FAS ’15 and Kurdyla, who shone throughout the entire concert, particularly stood out in this piece for both their technical abilities and artistic expression.

In addition to TAPS, four other dance groups performed, heading off any possible monotony and lending the show a highly eclectic, energetic feel. The Expressions Dance group brought an intense party vibe to the concert. In addition to the variety their hip-hop style contributed, the dancers took the stage with amazing presence and seemed to be having a blast. Next, the Harvard Ballroom Dance Team’s combination of intense chemistry with solid and clean technique, not to mention Marco Perez-Moreno’s ‘12 eye-catching red lace top, successfully incorporated a sexy, steamy element into the show. However, it was the Harvard Irish dance group, Corcairdhearg, with their unbelievably sharp technique and mesmerizing rhythm set to an a cappella version of “We Got the Beat,” who added the most interesting variety to the show.

On the whole, TAPS’ “Forever Young” was an enjoyable compilation of various dance styles, soundtracks and energies, as well as a welcome reminder of the sheer joy of tap dancing, a style that sometimes gets less visibility than others.  In bringing together traditional styles as well as exploring more contemporary possibilities for the genre, TAPS’ latest performance demonstrated that tap dancing is still thriving on the Harvard campus.

The Harvard Art Review Dance Board
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