High STePz

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Savion Glover rocks the Joyce

Savion Glover started tapping when he was seven, a prodigy who first made his name starring on Broadway in The Tap Dance Kid, Jelly's Last Jam and Black and Blue, later winning a Tony Award for choreographing Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk in 1995. Recognizing his genius, the great hoofers, Buster Brown, Lon Chaney, Jimmy Slyde and Gregory Hines, taught him everything they knew, including tap's history.

Now 39, a husband and father, and in charge of his own dance school in the former Newark Community School of the Arts, he combines the youthful intensity that has long electrified audiences with seasoned talent in the exhilarating "STePz," which will be at the Joyce Theater through July 6. He chose as his accompanists the brilliant tappers, Marshall Davis Jr., Ayodele Casel, Sarah Savelli and Robyn Watson. "I'm bringing a whole other level of energy to this show," he says, on a recent break between matinee and evening performances.

A new element is stairs. "They're like two small pyramids," Glover says. "Each wide stair has its own timbre, so as Marshall and I dance up and down them, it's like we are playing scales. They are a tribute to Bill Robinson and the Nicholas Brothers and all the other dancers who used them. I like to remind audiences of our great traditions." This is always a hallmark of his performances as well as his reverence for jazz greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker but this time, besides choreographing to these favorites, he has added some musical surprises to the repertoire, Prince, Stevie Wonder and Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony (Op. 110a) as well as the theme song from "Mission: Impossible."

"I try out a lot of music," he says. "If I select a song with lyrics, it's up to me to figure out how to interpret them through dance with something groovy. If it's an instrumental, I have to find space for our instrumentation to live. I want audiences to hear our instrumentation no matter what. They should be able to close their eyes and understand it's what we add to the music and the whole feeling of the tunes that makes them different. We're using jazz, pop, classical, mambo, hip - hop, every genre, and something for every age and taste. I made sure that this production is for everyone."

"STePz" shows at the Joyce Theater through July 6

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