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Talented Tappers

Ready for a little rhythm? On Tap may have just the beats you're looking for.

Duke's only performance tap club is making noise, and the stomp and thwomp of foot fury are garnering some well deserved attention. On Tap are no ordinary performers. Their rhythmic style is a funkier, beat-based blend with hip-hop sensibilities. This Sunday, the innovative troupe will display its distinctive style of dance in Baldwin Auditorium.

Trinity junior Bryan Edwards started the club two years ago, when the tap scene at Duke was nearly nonexistent. Today, roughly 15 members regularly participate, and the growing group is still searching for untapped talent. Edwards acts as On Tap's artistic director, incorporating different styles, techniques and choreography. His companions are all female, affording the trouncing troupe a hint of Riverdance caché.

As Duke's only tap club, On Tap fills a gap in the University's dance mosaic. "The atmosphere of dance at Duke is somewhat limited in that there is a focus on ballet and modern." noted club member Kimberly Love. But novelty may be an advantage. "Duke students have wonderful reactions to On Tap because it is so different from anything they have ever seen," Love explained.

The group members thrive on enthusiasm and a passion for their art. When Tina Belmore arrived at Duke in 1998, she was impressed by the opportunities for dancers, but the outlet for tap was limited. On Tap changed that. "Surprisingly there were a bunch of other talented tappers out there just waiting for a chance to perform," Belmore said. Medical Center employee Erin O'Reilly is thrilled with the opportunity. "I'm so glad Bryan started this group. It's always great when you find a great group of dancers to tap with."

On Tap's performances are truly collaborative efforts, with different members contributing choreographic influences. The dancers hail from various backgrounds. Many have been schooled in classical, jazz, or Broadway styles, but the freer form of rhythm tap is their focus.

Sunday's debut will showcase the diverse talents of On Tap's members, with seven component performance pieces. Though the show will be heavy on rhythm, the numbers will draw upon various styles of tap, set to the tunes of Janet Jackson, Benny Goodman and Lauryn Hill, among others. But judging by the sound of things, the real music will be thundering harmony of feet and the roar of applause.


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