Elon University’s annual tap performance “Tapped Out!” is back with surprises and rhythms from all over the world. This show has several tap pieces, each telling a different story and evoking different feelings within the audience.
The show is directed by Gene Medler, adjunct instructor in dance, who choreographed two pieces in the show. But different from other years, students this year also choreographed some of the numbers.
Dancers were chosen for numbers by taking into account their different strengths.
“The show just forms itself,” Medler said. “It’s a resolve of the different likes and dislikes and desires that the dancers bring to the show. I have a preconceived idea of what I want to do for my two dances. We don’t really say, ‘This is our show and this is how it’s going to go.’ We kind of find out who we have and we mold the show from there.”
The dancers of “Tapped Out!” are both new and returning performers. Junior Dan Lusardi has been invited by Medler to perform in “Tapped Out!” for the second time. He has been tap dancing since he was 11, and even as a musical theater major he still manages to take one of Medler’s tap classes every semester.
Lusardi is choreographing his own piece for the show. Using the song “Something” by The Beatles, he took aspects of the classic-rock hit into a song he can tap to.
“It’s cool because I just took the baseline and then some of the drums,” Lusardi said. “It’s very rhythmic. Maybe that will be the highlight of the show, but no promises.”
Each number has a different tone, even the two numbers Medler choreographed, the opening number has Peruvian and Cuban rhythms whereas the other is a bebop piece.
Senior Jillian Hannah believes the first number will captivate the audience. The dance follows the rhythm of a Cajon, a wooden drum.
“We split into three groups and we’re each tapping a different rhythm,” Hannah said. “My group starts and we do this one rhythm, and then we bring it all together and do it all at the same time.”
There will be some audience interaction throughout the performance so the audience feels a connection with the dancers.
During the last number, the dancers will teach audience members a simple tap dance so everyone can participate.
“At the end we always do the shim-shim which is that one tap dance that anybody who’s ever taken tap knows,” Hannah said.
Hannah believes this interactive number is just as good as the challenging opening dance because it brings everyone together.
“I love that we finish with the shim-sham,” she said. “Honestly, I think it’s the greatest part of the show, because like here we are doing all this crazy stuff, and then you finish it with the dance that everybody learns and that everybody knows.”
According to Lusardi, this performance is completely different from all of the other dance shows at Elon.
“It’s the only thing like this on campus all year,” he said. “It’s just really cool how much work they can all get done in just two and a half weeks. I hope it impacts the audience. Maybe it will inspire someone to take a tap class. It’s not too late to start. I just hope that they gain an appreciation for the art form because it’s hard. It’s hard work.”
Shows will run Friday, Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Saturday Jan. 23 at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre.