Ge­nius on Tap

Ottawa Magazine - - THIS CITY -

Michelle Dor­rance was des­tined to have leg­endary legs. Her mother was a bal­le­rina, and her dad was one of the most suc­cess­ful Amer­i­can soc­cer coaches in his­tory. Gifted with these genes, their daugh­ter chose a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion, pur­su­ing in­stead the art of tap danc­ing. As both a chore­og­ra­pher and a dancer, she mixes the mu­si­cal­ity of tap with the com­plex­i­ties of con­tem­po­rary dance. Be­cause Dor­rance knows the rules of the tra­di­tional dance form so well, she is a mas­ter at break­ing them. In recog­ni­tion of this, last year the 36-year-old was awarded a $675,000 MacArthur “Ge­nius Grant” for her rein­vig­o­ra­tion of the Amer­i­can art form. Al­though Dor­rance thinks “the ti­tle is so ab­surd, I can’t take it se­ri­ously,” don’t be fooled. She is un­ques­tion­ably an artis­tic vi­sion­ary to watch. We’re in luck be­cause, after a stop at the Kennedy Centre, her com­pany, Dor­rance Dance, per­forms her “elec­tric” show, ETM: Dou­ble Down, at the NAC The­atre Oct. 14 and 15.

The show is a fu­sion of acous­tic and elec­tronic sound where dancers lit­er­ally tap out the score as they move across plat­forms and trig­ger boards. This zeal­ous per­for­mance may bring to mind the scene from BIG where a child­like Tom Hanks dances on the gi­ant pi­ano keys in FAO Schwartz. “If Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka played Tom Hanks, that would be an ac­cu­rate de­pic­tion,” says Dor­rance about the show’s aes­thetic. ETM: Dou­ble Down is surely a golden ticket.


Michelle Dor­rance

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