“The language of music is rhythm. Rhythm is the language of life”
These are the first words spoken in the brilliant new documentary, Tap World. This film explores the vast and varied world of tap dance and highlights the stories of different tap dancers (such as Ted Louis Levy who spoke the quote above) who are shaping this world and continuing a grand legacy of passion, skill, and artistry.
Tap World delves into the history of tap dance as a means of communication rooted in African cultures. Ivery Wheeler explains the importance of rhythm to convey information and warning in the days of American slavery and in South Africa among the mine workers. Both have grown into rich styles of movement: tap and gumboot dancing. These physical forms of artistic expression have a foundation in survival which is why they are filled with so much life.
The focus of the film is the connectivity of tap dance and how it transcends race, background, gender, and words. It showcases the diverse lives of some dancers around the world who are at the forefront of this art form. Jason Samuels Smith has been dancing for over 25 years and worked on Broadway’s Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk. With the love and support of his family, he has become one of the world’s most prolific tap dancers. On the other side of the planet, Pandit Chitresh Das had been using the North Indian form of storytelling, Kathak, for decades before meeting Smith and the two realized they could dance in perfect harmony without knowing a thing about each other. This beautiful collaboration is seen in their piece India Jazz Suites.
Another artist featured in Tap World is Chloe Arnold. As a child, Arnold was part of a Savion Glover workshop in DC and from that, her interest turned into a passion. She has been dancing and teaching around the world ever since. When abroad, at times there are interpreters but she has found that in the dance studio, they are not always needed. Arnold fully believes, “The simple things: rhythm and love, transcend differences.”
Tap World introduces us to artists around the globe who are not only loving what they do and love sharing it, but who are using tap for social change and sometimes saving lives. These dancers are taking something very important to them and bringing the world together one step at a time. Tap World premieres in select theaters in New York City, D.C., and Virginia July 10th, Dallas on July 17th, and Los Angeles on August 7th. For theaters and ticket information, visit www.tapworldfilm.com