P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
January 1, 2003
MASS MoCA Offers Introduction to Tap Dancing for Kids
(North Adams, Mass.)On Saturday, February 1, at 11:00 A.M. tap dance virtuoso Thaddeus Phillips will offer an introduction to tap dancing for children in MASS MoCA's second-floor dance studio. The event is free with museum admission, but space is limited and reservations are required. Tap wizard Phillips is in North Adams performing his one-man tap tour de force Lost Soles on Friday, January 31.
Tap dance grew out of an amalgam of dances from different cultures. Irish and Scottish immigrants did a flat-footed step dance where the foot of the free leg would rise and arc to the side while the elbows moved outward in "wing" pattern. Their shoes had wooden soles and heels to amplify the rhythmic sounds of the dance. In the early part of this century several disparate activities contributed to the further development of tap. Toots Davis and Eddie Rector did tap in the Darktown Follies revue in 1913, and during Prohibition, speakeasies (clubs where alcohol was served and entertainment was provided) hired many black tap dancers as 'exotics' to entertain their white clientele. Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle created a Broadway show in 1921 called Shuffle Along which included a great deal of tap, helping to legitimize the style.
Thaddeus Philipps is a multi-talented actor and dancer. He studied directing and puppetry at the Theater Faculty in Prague and Drama at Colorado College and tap dance in Chicago with Jimmy Payne. He created solo object theatre performances of King Lear (on a mini-golf course) and The Tempest (in a child's swimming pool) which have played in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Haven and Colorado Springs. As an actor, he appeared in Kafka's Amerika at the Southwark Playhouse in London, and he toured internationally with Robert LePage's Geometry of Miracles (including a performance at MASS MoCA in June 2000). The New York Times reviewed his performance as the tap-dancing secretary in that show saying, "[Phillips] is a dazzling tap dancer· He moves so fast that, were it not for the tatoo of his heel and toes, one might suppose he just dematerializes on one side of the stage and reappears on the other."
Kids' events at MASS MoCA are sponsored by Banknorth.
Tap Time with Thaddeus is free with museum admission, but space is limited and reservations are required. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located on Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. every day but Tuesday. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or online at www.massmoca.org at any time of day.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
MASS MoCA 1040 MASS MoCA Way North Adams, MA 01247 413.MOCA.111 www.massmoca.org
For Immediate Release