Tap is a portable pleasure, a fact recalling its origins in juba: when slaves were denied their drums, they slapped their bodies or any old thing they could find to make music. Tap doesn’t even require shoes–all it takes is a sense of rhythm. In Foot Notes–The Concert, 26-year-old Savion Glover “taps” in his stocking feet, having first sprinkled the floor with sand. Punctuating the hushed scraping with occasional stamps, he might sound like a distant train or like lovers whispering jokes at 2 AM. A virtuoso without pride or self-importance, only a love of his art, he shares this pure-dance show, accompanied by a live band, with four other tap greats. James “Buster” Brown, once a member of the Copasetics Club, has tapped for 70 years and remains an affable presence onstage. Jimmy Slyde, 71, is a tap comedian, a teasing man whose pauses and patter and trademark slides across the floor all express his wry sense of humor. Dianne Walker, the grande dame of tap, is an elegant but earthy lady who’s been known to grab and steady her rather substantial breasts during quick passages. And ten-year-old Cartier A. Williams is clearly Glover’s heir apparent, reproducing some of his signature moves–floppy ankles enable him to tap on all sides of his feet–even as he maps out his own territory: on tape, I watched him take a hopping slide across the floor, regain control, and hit the beat just right. Through October 15: Tuesdays at 7:30 (September 26 at 8), Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 (Wednesday, October 11, at 2 only), Fridays and Saturdays at 8, and Sundays at 3 at the Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe; $22-$67. Call 312-902-1400 for tickets, 312-977-1710 for rates on groups of 20 or more, and 312-977-1717 for Broadway in Chicago subscription tickets.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Nacho Arias Careaga.