Lane Alexander (Founder and Director, Chicago Human Rhythm Project) is a master teacher, performer, choreographer, producer, advocate, and community organizer. He has led CHRP for 30 years during which time CHRP grew to become the first year-round presenting institution in the U.S. dedicated to American tap and contemporary percussive arts. Under his direction, CHRP programs have grown to include the American Rhythm Center in Chicago’s historic Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue, the City-wide percussive dance festival, STOMPING GROUNDS, the oldest and most comprehensive festival of American tap, Rhythm World, free arts education programs in Chicago Public Schools, We ALL Got Rhythm, and its resident ensemble, Stone Soup Rhythms.
Lane has been a prolific choreographer, director, and producer throughout his career and is one of the foremost experts on Morton Gould and Danny Daniel’s Tap Dance Concerto. He performed the Tap Dance Concerto at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops (Skitch Henderson) and again as a part of ASCAP’s tribute to Morton Gould at the request of the Gould family; the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic (Rachel Worby) attended by the Queen of England; Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall with the Little Orchestra Society (David Allen Miller); Chicago’s Symphony Center with the Chicago Sinfonietta (Paul Freeman) and the Pritzker Pavilion with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra (Christopher Bell); and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (David Robertson); among many others. He recorded the Concerto with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and was part of a rare performance of the work as a trio with Fred Strickler and Sam Weber at the Long Beach Arena with Long Beach Symphony (Michael Krajewski). Lane conceived and co-produced the Emmy-nominated PBS/ITVS/WTTW documentary JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance (1998-2000), and directed the first full-length tap concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in a major hall. He directed the tap-percussive dance ensemble BAM!, which represented the U.S. at the 5th Beijing Contemporary Dance Festival, the Gala de Estrellas Internacionales de Danza in Caracas, and toured for the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s regional jazz program.
His has received an NEA American Masterpieces grant, the Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field, the Chicago Dance and Music Alliance Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, two IAC Choreography Fellowships, and a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Award. He has been recognized by the Chicago Tribune as a “Chicagoan of the Year,” and NewCity recently inducted Lane into the Players Hall of Fame. He has been most honored to be acknowledged by the community with the The Tommy (Mayfair Academy), the Insight Award (North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble), Tap Legacy Award (Rhapsody in Taps), Third Coast Rhythm Project Award, and the Dallas Dance Council’s Buster Cooper Award and most recently, the Gus Giordano Legacy Award.
Lane choreographed the second national tour of The Tap Dance Kid, toured with the tap dance repertory company Austin on Tap, performed as a commercial artist for Live! Marketing, in the extended run of 42nd Street at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse (Bill Pullinsi), in summer stock at the Wagon Wheel Theater and in in the feature-length film Outtakes, to name a few. Lane performed as a principal and soloist while touring internationally with William Orlowski’s Toronto-based National Tap Dance Company of Canada, including a major tour of China in 1986 and the original Spoleto Festival.
Mr. Alexander served as the Tap Master for the national touring company of Billy Elliot and served for 10 years as a faculty member and senior advisor to the Beijing Contemporary Music Academy. He has served on the faculties of the Gus Giordano Dance Studio, the Lou Conte Dance Studio, Jacob’s Pillow, Northwestern University, Columbia College Chicago, Stephens College, and UNLV. Lane currently serves on the board of the International Tap Association and served on the board of the Arts and Business Council of Chicago as well as on Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s transition policy team for arts and culture.
It has been his greatest honor to share the stage with tap and music legends including Gregory and Maurice Hines, the Nicholas Brothers, Peg Leg Bates, Donald O’Connor, Jimmy Slyde, Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, Rachel Pine, Howard Levy, Orbert Davis, and MacArthur “Genius” Reginald R. Robinson.
Lane continues to teach beginning through advanced tap classes at the American Rhythm Center and at workshops and festivals around the world including regular pilgrimages to Tokyo, Paris, Florianopolis, Zurich, Helsinki, Barcelona, and Toronto.