Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards,
Program Directors | June 26-July 9

Michelle Dorrance, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, and award-winning artist faculty share a wide range of choreographic approaches and music styles to sharpen dancers’ musicality and technique. Studio work includes traditional vocabulary, cutting edge styles, improvisation, acapella musical composition, and working as solo and ensemble performers. Dancers perform works created on them for the public July 1 and July 8 as part of the free outdoor performance series.

Daily classes emphasize rhythmic structures, musical phrasing, articulated and relaxed approaches to the floor, and use of the full body; particularly in relationship to tap’s folkloric, street, and vernacular history. Music seminars, individual coaching, video viewing, tap history talks, and jam sessions help develop each dancer’s distinctive artistry while sharing new directions influencing the field today. Integral to this immersive experience are interactions with 85th Anniversary Festival artists through master classes and lunchtime career-building discussions, study time in the Archives, and attendance at all Festival performances, public talks, exhibits, and events.

For 25 tap dancers at a professional or advanced pre-professional level with strong performance skills, age 16 and up.


Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards

Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards is a two-time New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award winner (as performer and choreographer), Princess Grace Award recipient, and Astaire Award for Best Female Performer in Broadway’s After Midnight.

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Michelle Dorrance

Michelle Dorrance, founder and artistic director of Dorrance Dance, is one of the most sought after tap dancers of her generation and “one of the most imaginative tap choreographers working today” (The New Yorker).

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Brenda Bufalino

Brenda Bufalino is recognized as a master-teacher, author, actress, producer, director, collaborator, and performer. She has appeared at The Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, and The Smithsonian Institute. Bufalino has toured internationally with her company, American Tap Dance Orchestra, and has appeared on PBS Great Performances Gregory Hines Tap Dance in America.

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Carmen Staaf

Carmen Staaf recently graduated from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, where she studied and toured with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dee Dee Bridgewater and other masters, as well as performing and giving master classes at the White House, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and throughout the U.S., Morocco, and France.

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Derick K. Grant

Derick K. Grant is a native of Boston, MA and an award-winning tap performer and choreographer. He began his training at the Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts and studied “hoofin” style from master tap dancer, Dianne Walker.

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Dianne Walker

Dianne Walker is considered to be the transitional figure between the young generation of female dancers--such as Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Germaine Ingram, Ayodele Casel--and the forgotten black mothers of tap, such as Edith "Baby" Edwards, Jeni LeGon, Lois Miller, and Florence Covan.

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Joseph Wiggan

Joseph Wiggan began tap dance with the late Paul and Arlene Kennedy of the Kennedy Tap Company in Los Angeles. He made his Broadway debut in George C. Wolfe's Shuffle Along, and also performed in Riverdance, and the tap dance musical Imagine Tap!.

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Jumaane Taylor

Jumaane Taylor, a Chicago native, has been tap dancing since the age of seven. He began his training at the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre where he now currently teaches. He has had the esteemed opportunity to perform and study with George Patterson III, Idella Reed Davis, Jimmy Payne Jr., and Sarah Savelli.

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Sam Weber

Sam Weber is an in demand performer, master teacher, and choreographer, currently teaching at ODC, and City Dance Studios in San Francisco. A protégé of tap master Stan Kahn in San Francisco, Weber gained a global reputation in the world of tap dance.

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