Catch her if you can: Michelle Dorrance is a tap dancer for the 21st century. From performances in San Francisco, Hong Kong, London and a premiere event at the Guggenheim Rotunda in New York City, the Vail Dance Festival is fortunate to welcome her as our 2017 artist in residence.
For two weeks, the MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient infuses the Festival with her quick wit and nimble physicality.
Equal parts choreographer, mover and music maker, Dorrance first made her mark as one of the only women cast members in the famed musical STOMP. And while the days using brooms and lighters to create complex rhythms may be largely behind her, Dorrance continues to pursue new music-making methods. For “ETM: Double Down,” which will be presented on Aug. 10 at Beaver Creek’s Vilar Performing Arts Center, Dorrance collaborated with longtime friend and company member Nicholas Van Young to incorporate his electronic tap boards, brilliantly creating an instrument out of the dance floor to make music with a live band.
“The crux of my inspiration is music,” Dorrance said. “The music of our dancing, of tap dance, period.”
A deep respect for music has always characterized the Vail Dance Festival, so it is fitting that artistic director Damian Woetzel chose to highlight Dorrance as a groundbreaking choreographer vitalized by sound.
“Michelle embodies this understanding of rhythm, but she takes it to another level,” said Madeline Grande, a tap teacher at Avon’s Studio 8100 who trained with Dorrance at both the D.C. and L.A. tap festivals. “Taking class from her meant more than choreography and fast feet. It was a full mental and physical experience, immersing ourselves in…
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