Step by Step
The future of tap dancing is coming to Boone, even if its leader has never even heard of the town.
Tap dancing extraordinaire Savion Glover and his show, “STePz,” is coming to the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts at Appalachian State University at 8 p.m. Nov. 15.
Glover said that although he’s unfamiliar with Boone, he’s definitely excited. “I’m looking forward to meeting the people and sharing my energy and entertainment with them,” he said.
The Tony Award-winning performer and choreographer has been dancing for decades now. “I see the future of tap going wherever I am,” Glover said.
He got his start early and began dancing at age 7, when his mother enrolled him and his brothers into dance classes. But Glover said it wasn’t until he was introduced to Gregory Hines and other big names that the influence of dance started to transform his life. Through them, he was able to recognize and understand the dance better, and he aims to “pay homage to them through dance.”
Though Hines was a co-star of his in the Broadway musical, “Jelly’s Last Jam,” Hines played a larger role in Glover’s life.
“He was more than a teacher,” he said. “He was a father figure, a brother figure to me. He took me in and treated me like a son, he treated me like a brother. The things he taught me and shared with me went far beyond the stage.”
But Hines wasn’t alone in helping to mold young Glover. Sammy Davis Jr., Buster Brown, Chance Taylor and others played roles, as well. “Everything that I am, I owe to them,” Glover said of his mentors.
And now he’s mentoring a new generation of dancers with his school, HooFeRzCLuB School for Tap, in Newark, N.J. “I hope that all who come here are able to continue their education or further their knowledge about the men and women responsible for my progress as a tap dancer,” he said.
Glover noted that the school isn’t about producing the next best thing for tap dancing. Rather, the mission is to build the intellectual base of dance and the history of the great contributors the art form has had thus far.
Although he’s been blessed to have had the opportunity to work alongside some of the “greatest entertainers in the world,” Glover still has some ideas for future collaborations.
“I would like to collaborate with Sade and Lalah Hathaway,” he said, explaining that he grew up listening to them and is inspired by their music. “It’s my mission to allow people to hear the dance up against or alongside all genres, all types of music.”
He explained that tap dance hasn’t been seen or heard with all music genres. Glover wants to continue to just match the dance with song, to allow people to see and hear how the dance can coordinate with a song and different types of music.
The approximately 80-minute “STePz” show features a wide variety of music, including Stevie Wonder, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Prince. When choreographing this show, Glover said it was less about going in with a set idea and more about “listening to the music and figuring out how we wanted to deal with the music.”
He said he thinks about shows for years, but he has so many he wants to bring to life, it’s a matter of when things can happen to bring the ideas to fruition. “STePz” features Glover’s tap dancing alongside four other performers: Marshall Davis Jr., Sarah Savelli, Ayodele Casel and Robyn Watson.
The show includes performances on stairs to highlight the contributions of Hines, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and the Nicholas Brothers to the history of tap dance.
Glover is hoping that his High Country audience has a good time at “STePz.”
“It’s an evening of high energy tap dancing,” he said. “I just want them to enjoy the evening in the theater, and enjoy the dance.”
Tickets to Savion Glover’s “STePz” cost $20 for general admission, $16 for ASU faculty and staff and $10 for students. For tickets or more information, visit pas.appstate.edu or call (828) 262-4046.