Rhythm on Tap: Take It Away Dance premieres CROSS RHYTHMS

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Photo by Anthony Dean Photography

Pamela Hetherington, grew up dancing with tap master LaVaughn Robinson and spent 15 years as a professional with Robert F. Burden, Jr. and his Tap Team Two, until she founded Take It Away Dance. Take It Away’s latest full-length project, CROSS RHYTHMS, is one of a series of contemporary tap performances the group has presented since 2007. It will have two performances on June 6, 2015 at the Gershman Y.

With CROSS RHYTHMS, Take It Away Dance hopes to challenge traditional notions of ensemble tap choreography through such unconventional subjects and settings as a dodgeball game, an airport terminal, a tangled pair of shoelaces, and a magnetic field. CROSS RHYTHMS features nine new tap works choreographed by Hetherington, Heather Cornell (founder of Manhattan Tap), Nicole Kostura Hockenberry; and Jenn Rose. According to Hetherington, “Cornell is arguably the most influential tap choreographer in the world today. She redefined the role of the tap dancer as a percussive musician, by composing pieces which set tap dancers into tight ensembles, their movements and rhythms working together to create a visually musical experience for an audience.”

Hetherington and Cornell have been working together on various dance projects for the past five years, and Cornell has been acting as an artistic advisor for Hetherington’s company for the past year. For CROSS RHYTHMS, Cornell has restaged a Manhattan Tap repertory piece on four company dancers, and she has also set a new percussive piece on sixteen dancers from the Philadelphia tap community.

Collaborating with musicians to create innovative, fresh and surprising tap works is a main focus of Take It Away Dance, and the pieces in CROSS RHYTHMS are performed to a wide variety of music, ranging from Miles Davis to Jason Moran to Radiohead. Jazz pianist Adam Faulk will lead the band, accompanied by bassist Nimrod Speaks, vocalists Rachel Camp and Dena Underwood, percussionists Jim Hamilton and Anwar Marshall, and guitarist Tim Motzer. [Elaine C. Levitt Auditorium, Gershman Y, Broad and Pine Streets] June 6, 2015; takeitawaydance.com.

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.