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Chicago Human Rhythm Project

Whew! Where to begin? They say begin with what you know, and what I know about the huge lineup of tap artists scheduled for the sixth annual Chicago Human Rhythm Project is the talent of youngster Mark Mendonca. When I saw him a couple of years ago, his a cappella tapping impressed me first with its close relationship to the everyday sounds a moving body makes, then with its high contrasts, musical rhythms, and personal stamp. He’s part of Jazz Tap Ensemble, whose other members are Lynn Dally, who cofounded the LA ensemble in 1979 and has played a significant role in the renaissance of tap, and Sam Weber, who won a Bessie in 1994 for his dancing. Other out-of-towners are Fred Kelly (yes, Gene’s brother), Six Feet of Rhythm (Robert Reed and his tapping son and daughter), Tapsichore, Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, and Josh Hilberman. Local talent includes project director Lane Alexander, Especially Tap Company (of which he’s a member), the team of Ernest “Brownie” Brown (who’s danced for more than 70 years) and Reginald “Reggio the Hoofer” McLaughlin, the all-female group Rhythm I.S.S., Steppin’ Out (a young trio that incorporates rap and hip-hop), the Swift Brothers (said to combine “rhythmic riffs and humor”), the Time Steppers (who demonstrate how “tap gets better with age”), and Richard Weinberg. Classes begin July 15, each of the eight concerts features tributes to tap greats, there will be tap jams at the Bismarck Hotel, and the second week of performances includes four world premieres commissioned by the Human Rhythm Project. Thursdays at 7:30, beginning July 11; Fridays and Saturdays at 8; and Sundays at 2 through July 21 in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State; $17.50-$27.50 (discounts for groups of ten or more; opening-night benefit $50 for performance only, $75 for preperformance buffet too). Call 902-1500 for tickets, 761-4889 for information and group sales. –Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of the Swift Brothers, by William Frederking.