Dorrance Dominates Dance
First thing’s first, a brief history of Michelle Dorrance.
Raised in Chapel Hill, Dorrance began tap dancing at the age of four under her mentor Gene Medler (look him up, he’s important too). Thirty-one years later, she is now one of the most influential tap dancers of her generation with a repertoire including performances at the 2012 Winter Olympics, on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” touring with the Off-Broadway production of “STOMP” and choreographing for and performing in a piece for Tabitha Simmons’ fashion film promoting her 2011 line of shoes. So yes, she is a big deal.
In 2011 Dorrance founded her company, Dorrance Dance/New York, and has been recently touring and performing her award winning show “The Blues Project.” On Sept. 25 and 26, Dorrance’s company performed “The Blues Project” at the Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill.
As a tap enthusiast/fangirl, I was aware of the importance of this performance and the amazingness that I was about to witness, but nothing could have prepared me for the indescribable perfection that is the Dorrance Dance/New York company.
Every movement was executed with precision that would put morse code to shame, every rhythm shot out like gunfire. The dynamic contrasts were so smooth, yet so subtle that I often found myself catching my breath. And this was just the first piece.
Even the incorporation of non-tap elements were placed so well throughout the show that one could only ask “what sorcery is this?” In the middle of a group piece, a single performer took off her tap shoes and began doing elements of African tribal dance while everyone else continued tapping. Trust me, it was just as random as it sounds, yet somehow, I am still not sure why, it fit perfectly in the piece.
And Michelle, MICHELLE. Truly an artist, she excluded herself from a majority of the pieces to ensure that all of her performers were highlighted (also because an entire hour of Michelle performing would be too much greatness for the small theatre to handle). When she was on stage, every move she made was sheer perfection. She did allow herself a solo, which she improvised to music that changes with every show.
Moral of the story: Michelle Dorrance is a tap goddess and Dorrance Dance/New York is her army of tap angels.