by MK Scott -
SGN A&E Writer
DIMITRIOU'S JAZZ ALLEY
Dimitriou's Jazz Alley welcomes living legend: tap dancer, choreographer, and actor Savion Glover for three nights and four shows. I became a fan when I first saw him dance on TV as a 12-year-old that lead to roles on Broadway in The Tap Dance Kid (1985) to Black and Blue (1989) and the phenomenal Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk (1996). The musical which brought Glover a Tony Award for Best Choreographer. He later expanded his appeal to younger generations with recurring appearances on 'Sesame Street', and he holds the credits for the choreography and the live captured dancing motion behind Mumble the penguin in the Disney film Happy Feet (2006). Glover's quick steps and amazing rhythms continue to influence the lives of young people. His production company tours across the country, visiting schools, spreading enthusiasm for tap dancing and cementing his place in history.
I had a chance to speak to Mr. Glover by phone this past Wednesday (10/30).
MK Scott: Savion, we are excited that you are going to be performing at Jazz Alley next week. So what can the audience expect with this show?
Savion Glover: It's myself and my band, a jazz quartet, and so it's going to be a jazz set, the only thing different will be myself tap dancing and giving people an opportunity to hear, or see, the dance as music, hear the dance as music with the dance as melody, or as percussion. Hear the dance. See the dance towards something other than just, you know, it being tap dancing. So, hopefully, people will walk away with a better understanding of my approach to this art form, this form of communication, and yeah, I think that's it.
MK: Well, I have been a fan of your work ever since you did The Tap Dance Kid in 1985. That kind of shows my age, because I was like literally around 15 at the time. So I remember that you worked under Gregory Hines, and also learned a lot from Sammy Davis, Jr. What was the most important thing that Gregory and Sammy ever taught you about the world of tap dance?
Glover: Well, it's not like one most important thing, it was just, you know, the lessons that I learned along the way from being with them and watching them, and you know, just enjoying their contribution to this world of human beings, never mind dancers, you know. At the time of our relationship it seemed like they were more interested in me as a human being versus a tap dancer. So I just learned life lessons from both of those guys. And then all of my guys [who were with me] on tours, educators and friends, you know, again at the time of our relationships, it seems as if they were more interested in making sure I had the tools needed for the man that I would be in this world versus the tap dancer that I would become in show business.
MK Scott: So they totally made you ...
Glover: So many life lessons.
MK: ... the person that you are today in regards to ...
MK: I'm also aware of your work with Broadway musicals from Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk and Black and Blue. In fact, I actually have both of those soundtracks.
Glover: Oh? Great.
MK: Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk and then Black and Blue. And I also heard that you did a huge, you had a huge part in the production of the, you know, of the retailing of The Shuffle musical. What were those experiences like for you? Those Broadway shows.
Glover: I mean, they were, again, all of my experiences have been great. You know, I appreciate my collaborating partners, and our efforts towards allowing the dance to be the narrative, or allowing the dance to tell the story. My experiences, specifically with George Wolfe, through his directing efforts and my choreography, you know, he's really allowed for there to be a space, or a platform, once again, for my dance, for my approach to the dance, to be used as a form of storytelling. So I'm happy whenever I have the opportunity to be involved specifically in something that might be on Broadway because it's just another opportunity for the dance to be, you know, the lead vocalist, it gives opportunity to the dance. So I'm happy whenever that opportunity is in place, specifically for Broadway.
MK: You started at the age of 12 in this business, and you're about 45 now, you've done so much with your life. What do you want to do that you have not done before?
Glover: Hmm. That's a loaded question. I guess the first thing I would say is be President.
MK: (Laugh) There you go. You want to get into politics?
Glover: No, I don't want to get into politics. That's why I want to become the President. (Laugh)
MK: (Laugh) Wonderful! (Laugh)
Glover: (Laugh) Sorry, man. I found that one quite funny myself. Oh, Lord. No, man, I don't know, there's so much to do. I'm happy with my distance. I'm happy to know that I am here and contributing to the evolution of our existence. I'm happy to know that I'm a part of this thing, this art form, this communication, this way to get people to respond emotionally. I'm happy that I am able to allow people a release, you know, and to be a part of this platform, the entertainment business that I am a part of, I feel, you know, honored. I feel secure. I feel that those of us who are in this field of contributing, you know, we should, you know, be happy, be happy to serve. So when it's about what do I do next, or what do I do that I don't want to do? I don't know, man, I'm just so happy to be here and be able to share my gift and skills and time, and spark emotions in people and whatnot. So, hopefully, I'll continue to do that more and more and more and more and more.
MK: All right. Well, thank you so much, I'm looking forward to seeing you.
Glover: That's cool.
See Savion Glover with band play Dimitriou's Jazz Alley (2033 6th Ave.) November 4-6. Show times Monday and Tuesday at 7:30pm. Show times Wednesday at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Doors open at 6pm all nights. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5085
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