On Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, upbeat and remixed renditions of music history’s most infamous tracks, along with the sound of metal clicking and clacking on a stage floor, filled Elon’s McKinnon Hall.
The occasion was Tapped Out!, Elon’s annual dance production showcasing 13 entertaining and rhythmic performances by the Elon Tap Ensemble. Directed by seasoned tapper and Elon dance professor Gene Medler, with assistance by senior Carly Flynn and junior Julie Crothers, the 2013 performance marked the show’s fifth successful year as a part of Elon’s winter events and academic calendar.
Featuring 25 Elon students chosen from the thirty or forty students that auditioned back in December, the Elon Tap Ensemble gave students ranging from freshmen to seniors the opportunity to take part in both the creation process and performance aspect of dance. This dual-perspective is important asset to the student’s education, said Medler.
“It gives them [the students] exposure to various art forms and allows them to be influenced by the creativity,” he said.
However, these hardworking students had a mere three weeks to perfect their performances. While most Elon students were studying abroad or taking notes for their single Winter Term course within a classroom, the students of Elon Tap Ensemble were taking advice from Medler and perfecting their steps every morning starting at 8:30 a.m. The rigorous three-hour rehearsals substituted any lecture notes or essays just as the performance served as a final exam.
Upperclassmen were given the optional opportunity to choreograph their own tap number. While they had to audition for this exclusive opportunity, those who were chosen were given complete choreographic freedom in terms of their dance and who they chose to participate from within the Ensemble.
Such student choreographed numbers included “Cultural Collisions” by Samantha Italiano. “It’s Britney…ish” by Kristen Sandler, “Horizontal Running” by Aislinn Koch, “Espionage” by Amber Schmiesing, “Down the Road” by Shannon Smith and “here i am” by Rachel Teem.
Tapped Out! veteran senior Carly Flynn, who was a dancer, assistant director, and choreographer for her number, “Oh, Darling,” explained that despite her past experience, Tapped Out! was still a challenge this year.
“There were a lot of unexpected surprises, but I loved the way it all came together,” Flynn said. “Our cast and crew were sensational and we all had a great time with the performances."
However, despite the early morning hours and strenuous physical demands, it would seem this group earned a well-deserved A+. Both opening night performances on Friday and Saturday welcomed a full house of nearly 600 people.