Rhythm World showcases American Tap and Percussive Dance


July 25-Aug. 7 Festival eyes Canada for Inaugural Geographic Spotlight

CHRP Masterclass
Chicago, IL – The Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) offers its 21st annual Rhythm World, the oldest and most comprehensive festival of American tap and contemporary percussive art in the world, July 25-August 7, 2011 in downtown Chicago. This festival of performance, education and community outreach programs, directed by Founder and Artistic Director Lane Alexander, features an extraordinary master faculty in two weeks of residencies, courses, workshops, master classes and conferences for the field at the Fine Arts Building, as well as faculty concerts, student showcases and lecture demonstrations at the Jazz Showcase, Harold Washington Library’s Cindy Pritzker Theater, Millennium Park and MCA Stage in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.


For the next five years, Rhythm World will spotlight a city, nation or region, beginning this year with Canada and instructors/performers Kim Chalovich, Heather Cornell, Travis Knights, Tasha Lawson, Lisa La Touche, Danny Nielson, Matt Shields and Everett Smith. Upcoming festivals will focus on Brazil (2012), the Pacific (2013), Spain and other European countries (2014) and the U.S. (2015).


2011 JUBA! Award winners

CHRP annually honors esteemed members and supporters of the tap community with its  JUBA! Awards. CHRP will honor these JUBA! Award winners during Rhythm World’s culminating performance series “JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance” August 3, 4 and 6 at MCA Stage. This year’s honorees, both for Lifetime Contribution to the Field, are Heather Cornell (August 4 performance) and Randy Skinner (August 6).


Scholarship program

Each year, CHRP awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to deserving, talented teens so that they may participate in Rhythm World. This year 21 deserving students earned a total of $15,000 in scholarships in the Leo Harris Tap Scholarship auditions during the February 2011 Winter Tap JAMboree. “These scholarships support CHRP’s mission of building community by bringing students from Chicago to meet their peers from around the world and study with the masters,” said Alexander.


Education programs–Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago

Rhythm World begins July 25-29 with intensive residencies led by Bril Barrett of MADD Rhythms; Derick K. Grant of Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk and Imagine Tap; Step Afrika! Artistic Director Jakari Sherman; and Bessie Award winner Sam Weber.

            Courses, workshops and master classes take place August 1-7. The highly respected faculty of master teachers, many of whom have taught at the festival throughout its 21-year history, includes Lane Alexander, Bril Barrett, Martin Bronson, Kristi Burris, Kim Chalovich, Jessica Chapuis, Zada Cheeks, Heather Cornell, Victor Cuno, Idella Reed Davis, Michelle Dorrance,  Tre Dumas, Jay Fagan, Derick Grant, Jason Janas, Travis Knights, Lisa La Touche, Tasha Lawson, Danny Nielson, Jimmy Payne, Jr., Jakari Sherman, Matt Shields, Randy Skinner, Everett Smith, Jason Samuels Smith, Aaron Tolson, Dianne Walker, Sam Weber and Mark Yonally.

            The KIDS Program August 2-4 offers intermediate tappers ages nine through 12 a curriculum including oral and video histories, tap technique classes, improvisation instruction and individual development of style and expression. After Work Adult Courses also take place August 2-4, and Audition Workshops August 5.


Conferences for the field

Now in its 10th year, CHRP’s annual Youth Tap Ensemble Conference (YTEC) takes place August 1-5. PrepTEC, now in its third year, offers younger members of the pre-professional repertory companies an opportunity to benefit from the expertise available during Rhythm World. More than 90 dancers between the ages of 12 and 19, representing 10 youth tap ensembles from the U.S., China, Brazil, Canada and Mexico, gather to study new choreography, technique, improvisation and theatre-related topics. For the first time in its 10-year history, YTEC includes work with two choreographers on a multi-year choreography project. Michelle Dorrance and Derick Grant return to set the second in a trio of dances that will be completed in 2012, while the PrepTEC students learn a new work by Lisa La Touche.

Newer conferences returning this year:

·       ProTEC, for young adult professional tappers who want to work with their peers from around the world, takes place August 4-7.

·       UTEC, for college and university students/faculty who want to study with their peers and develop a global college network devoted to gaining recognition for American tap in undergraduate dance/music departments, takes place August 5-7.

Together, these conferences serve the evolving needs of the tap art community and continue to build a global network of tap practitioners of all ages and aspirations.


To register for education programs, visit chicagotap.org or call 773-281-1825.


Performances by Rhythm World faculty, students and Virtual Rhythms winners

Rhythm World features a performance component during its second week. After last season’s successful debut, the opening night August 1 performance at 8 p.m. features Rhythm World faculty and students performing with jazz musicians at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Court. Admission is $10 at the door ($5 Rhythm World participants).

            On August 2, Rhythm World students and faculty perform an informal showcase at 7 p.m. at the Harold Washington Library’s Cindy Pritzker Theater, 400 S. State Street. There is a $5 suggested donation at the door.

            Rhythm World culminates with CHRP’s annual faculty concerts, “JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance,” featuring a host of extraordinary foot drummers and percussive arts masters August 3, 4 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. at MCA Stage, 220 E. Chicago Avenue.

            The August 3 performance celebrates Rhythm World’s 21st birthday by presenting the emerging “beat-niks” of the tap scene–tap artists in their 20s, including Nico Rubio, Jason, Janas, Zada Cheeks, Jessica Chapuis and many others who combine a deep knowledge of the art form’s roots with blistering technical virtuosity and rhythmically poetic content.  

            The August 4 performance highlights this year’s geographic focus in “Canada on Tap” with performances by Canadians Kim Chalovich, Heather Cornell, Travis Knights, Lisa La Touche, Tasha Lawson, Danny Nielson, Matt Shields, Everett Smith and more. Heather Cornell receives the JUBA! Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Field.  

            The August 6 performance features Chicago’s finest tap repertory ensembles, including Chicago Human Rhythms Project’s resident ensemble BAM!, Cartier Collective, Jus’ Listen, MADD Rhythms and special guests. Randy Skinner receives the JUBA! Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Field.


Also part of the JUBA! performances, after last season’s debut, are the winners of Virtual Rhythms, CHRP’s “tapography” competition offering exposure for emerging tap choreographers and videographers. One JUBA! performance will include the winning choreographer, and one will include a screening of the winning videographer’s work.


Tickets to “JUBA!” performances–$30, $25 for Rhythm World participants and MCA members–go on sale May 25, National Tap Dance Day. Call 312-397-4010 or visit mcachicago.org. All programming is subject to change.


For complete Rhythm World information, visit chicagotap.org or call 773-281-1825.


Global Rhythms–November 2011           

CHRP’s 2011 season concludes with Global Rhythms and Thanks 4 Giving, a series of shared revenue, contemporary percussive arts performances November 26 and 27 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park. The program will include CHRP’s performing ensemble BAM!, the return of Step Afrika!, Chicago’s Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater and the Mexican Folkloric Dance Ensemble.

About Chicago Human Rhythm Project

CHRP’s 2011 season is supported by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Target, The Boeing Company, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation for Arts & Culture at Prince, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, The Saints, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Jeanette & Jerome Cohen Philanthropic Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, The Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg Family Foundation, L&L Hardwood Flooring, The Service Club of Chicago, Arts Work Fund, Leo’s Dancewear, The Seneca Hotel and Suites and generous individual donors.


Founded in 1990, Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) builds community by presenting American tap dance and contemporary percussive arts in world-class and innovative performance, education and community outreach programs. The organization’s vision is to establish the first global center for American tap and percussive arts (The American Rhythm Center), which will create a complete ecosystem of education, performance, creation and community in a state-of-the-art facility uniting generations of diverse artists and the general public.  


CHRP Founder/Director Lane Alexander is serving as the only member of Chicago’s dance community on Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s transition team for Arts & Culture. And on March 17, CHRP announced that it had raised more than $500,000 to support the establishment of the Collaborative Space for Sustainable Development (working title), which will serve as a shared, affordable and eventually self-sufficient education, rehearsal and administrative facility for several Chicago arts organizations.