CHRP Artist In Residence

We are thrilled to announce that world-renowned performer, choreographer and teacher Daniel “Dani” Borak is our first three-year Artist In Residence (A.I.R.). Dani will contribute his time and talents to multiple aspects of CHRP and its programs, beginning this spring.  You can see and learn more about Dani below.

Daniel “Dani” Borak, world-renowned, international tap and multi-genre performer, choreographer and teacher, joins the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) as its first three-year Artist In Residence, using his many skills throughout CHRP’s variety of programs. Passionate about experimenting and collaborating with a broad spectrum of performing and visual artists, this extraordinarily talented artist has already expanded the concept of traditional tap dancing, creating his own unique blended vocabulary pointing toward the future of percussive dance and rhythmic expression.

A native of Switzerland (Winterthur), Dani has performed as a soloist around the world and has won 11 gold medals in many different categories (six in solo male) at the IDO tap dance world championships in Riesa, Germany. In 2013, he served as co-choreographer and dance captain for productions of Spamalot and Flashdance. In 2014, he collaborated on the creation of Funny Feet (by Lukas Weiss Productions) a show that fused tap dance, juggling, virtuosic foot percussion and humor. Other shows featuring his performances in 2014–15 included WINGS by Rigolo and, thanks to Regine Ochsner, Rhythm Refix by Cartier Williams. In 2015, he faced the greatest challenge of his career, performing in Kilian Deissler’s Kick The Square: tapping by using notes in an extremely complex way, with six other musicians, using a notation system specifically created for the project and a special stage consisting of different sound elements.

Companies and projects that he has performed and toured around the world with include Stylize, directed by Sandro Minasi, which combines different dance styles including break dance and tap; DaNaTI, a collaboration with Swiss dancer and choreographer Natalie Wagner that combines tap, jazz, contemporary dance and acting; Carpe Rhythmum, a Swiss tap ensemble, directed by Daniel Leveillé; his longtime partnership with tap dancer Ursina Meyer; Tap Dan’s Company; projects with his mother Liba Borak and their dancers from Dance Studio Borak; and “Dog, Sheep & Shepherd” with the jazz duo Gabriela and Jan Pisklák. He also has taught workshops and been invited to tap festivals all over the globe.

His most ambitious project to date has been Tap Dan’s Festival in October 2016 in his hometown of Winterthur, Switzerland. Seven different performances showcased his work and new collaborations, including several of his full-evening works as well as material from his six years as a freelance artist. Almost all of his tap and musician colleagues from Switzerland, as well as guests from the U.S., England, France and Germany, including Barbara Duffy, Cartier Williams, Max Pollak, Victor Cuno, and Andreas Dänel, participated and collaborated with him, selling out six of the seven shows.

Daniel Borak and Chicago Human Rhythm Project
Daniel’s history with CHRP dates back to 2008, when he attended the Rhythm World summer tap and percussive dance festival as a Tap Scholar (scholarship student) in the company of his parents, Ursina Meyer, Regine Ochsner, Lukas Weiss and other tap friends from Switzerland. He returned in 2010 and 2011, describing the festival as “an eye-opening experience,” showing him the endless variety and beauty of the art form. Learning from some of the greatest tap dance artists for the first time, he returned to Switzerland determined to hone his craft and create new works rooted in American hoofing traditions.

In summer 2014, he returned to Chicago, this time as a guest teacher, performer and director. As a part of CHRP’s five-year cycle of presenting international tap communities, Dani led artists from the European Union including Victor Cuno (Paris), Guillem Alonso (Barcelona) and as special guest, Charles Renato from Brazil.

Through a crowd funding project, “We Make It – Tap Dan’s Scholarships,” Dani was able to bring and financially support 19 of his company members from Dance Studio Borak, including Natalie Wagner & Ursina Meyer, performing with all of them at the JUBA concerts and especially wanting Rhythm World to be as richly rewarding for them as it had been for him.

He returned to Rhythm World as a guest teacher and solo performer in 2015. And now, in 2017, he is back yet again, but this time in an expanded role as A.I.R.—Artist In Residence—choreographing, performing, teaching, directing and planning three years of residency activities. He will enjoy prominent performing and directing roles in the annual Rhythm World summer festival, as well as CHRP’s engagement at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago in September 2017.

Background, Training and Teaching
Dani began dancing when he was five years old, discovering his passion for tap in his mother’s dance school, Dance Studio Borak. He studied ballet, jazz, hip hop, flamenco and modern dance, as well as Feldenkrais, Pilates and choreography, at the Zurich School of Dance and Theatre, graduating in 2010. Since then, Dani has become an ambassador of dance, in particular tap dance, using every opportunity to raise awareness of this art form.

He teaches on a regular basis at the Backstage Studio in Zurich and mostly at the Dance Studio Borak, where he regularly choreographs for students, preparing them for championships and shows he produces with his mother, Liba Borak.

From 2011 through 2014, he supported Regine Ochsner in organizing the Zurich Tap Festival, featuring leading tap dancer-teachers from the U.S. , Canada & Australia.

Even though Daniel enjoys to work, collaborate and share with all tap artists /schools/organizations world wide, the strongest tap relationship he has, is the connection to Switzerland’s tap dance scene, because he grew up in it – it’s his “tap-home”.

Besides with his own tap family in the Dance Studio Borak, as well as Regine Ochnser, Ursina Meyer, Daniel Leveillé, Lukas Weiss and Andreas Dänel(DE), he’s been working and collaborating intensively in the past few years with Swiss tap-artists as Fabrice Martin (Planet Dance Martin), Sophie Romanelli, Shyrleen Müller, Olivia & Rebecca Grobéty (Centre de Ballet Martinelli), Gilles Guenat, Kira von Kayser (DE), Sabine Freuler (Tanzwerk Basel), the organization SwissTap and many more.