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Rhythm World 29.5 Artists

Learn more about each of the amazing teachers at Rhythm World 29.5.  Click on a name below, or scroll down through the entire list.

Sam Weber

Sam Weber is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed performing artist, master teacher and choreographer who regularly appears throughout the world.  A protege of Stan Kahn in San Francisco, Sam has shared the stage with such tap luminaries as Charles, “Honi” Coles, Steve Condos, and Gregory Hines.

Sam continues to teach at tap festivals worldwide.  He has taught in the dance departments of UCLA, Cal State L.A., Cal State Fullerton and San Francisco State University and currently teaches regular classes at ODC Dance Commons and City Dance in San Francisco.

Sam is the recipient of numerous awards( including the “Juba” award from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project) and was the first tap dancer to receive a “Bessie” award, presented in 1993 in recognition of outstanding creative achievement in his work with the Jazz Tap Ensemble.  He has received the “Giant Steps” award for his lifelong contribution to the development of tap dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and was the recipient of the “Legacy Award” from the Third Coast Rhythm Project for his work as a teacher and performer.  On July 11th, 2017, Sam received the “Hoofer Award,” presented by the American Tap Dance Foundation.

Linda Sohl-Ellison

Linda Sohl-Ellison is the Artistic Director, choreographer, and soloist with Rhapsody In Taps, a Long Beach, CA based touring company featuring seven tap dancers and six musicians that she founded with Toni Tack in 1981. Linda has a BFA from Ohio University in Dance and Graphic Design and an MA from UCLA. Her training includes studies under the great tap masters Foster Johnson, Eddie Brown, Honi Coles and Buster Brown. She collaborated with Gregory Hines, staging and performing in his first choreographic work, Toeing the 3rd and Fifth made for Rhapsody In Taps in 1990, and she has re-staged this work several times, most recently in 2016 for the company’s 35th Anniversary. Linda has toured the United States, Mexico, Asia, Indonesia, France and Germany teaching and performing as a soloist, with Rhapsody In Taps, and with her husband, percussionist Monti Ellison.

Recognized for her choreographic innovation in tap, she has been awarded five Choreographers’ Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Irvine Fellowships in Dance (1999, 2001) and a 2006 Dance: Creation to Performance grant from the James Irvine Foundation. In 1999 Linda was nominated for the prestigious Alpert Award in Dance. She has received Artist’s Fellowships from the California Arts Council, Arts Council for Long Beach, Public Corporation for the Arts, National Association for Regional Ballet, and California Community Foundation. Ms. Sohl-Ellison received a 1st place choreography award from the Palm Desert Choreography Festival (2003), a Lester Horton Dance Award for Outstanding Choreography from the Dance Resource Center and a Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio University (2006), a Milestone Award from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for more than 25 years of performances, programs and arts leadership in Los Angeles (2007), a Tapestry Award from the Soul to Sole tap festival in Austin Texas for 30 years of contributions to the field of tap dance (2010) and a 2017 award from the Orange County Tap Festival. Linda is Emeritus Professor of Dance at Orange Coast College where she taught many dance forms, directed student concerts and mentored dancers for 37 years, and currently teaches int/adv tap and modern dance as a part time faculty member. Her film credits include the movie TAP, and three documentaries: Thinking on their Feet: Women of the Tap Renaissance, You Gotta Move and JUBA. For more info: rhapsodyintaps.com

Monti Ellison

Monti Ellison is an accomplished percussionist/drummer, composer and vocalist. He has performed worldwide as a soloist with Harry Belafonte, Stephanie Mills, Lonnie Liston Smith, Little Steven and others. As a dance musician he spent 15 years at the Alvin Ailey School in New York where he was head staff musician. Monti teaches African dance, hand percussion, drumming and bucket drumming; he is an accompanist and/or faculty member at Loyola Marymount University, Orange Coast College, CSU Long Beach, The Wooden Floor and he teaches master classes internationally. He has composed numerous dance scores: Judith Jamison’s Divining for the Alvin Ailey company, a percussion score for the New York based Urban Arts Corps’ production of Alice in Wonderland directed by Vinette Carroll and choreographed by Talley Beatty, J5A6Z7Z8 for jazz choreographer Jose Meier, as well as Dat’s Right, Espiritu, Riptide, Stroke of the Oarsmen, Deciduous Dances, Wade, Ode To Hummingbirds, Chugarump and FOIL/Copper, Zinc, Brass, for Rhapsody In Taps, plus many compositions for the Monti Ellison Percussion Ensemble.

Lane Alexander

Lane Alexander, Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s co-founder and director for 30 years, has performed, choreographed, taught and advocated for American tap and percussive dance for more than 40 years. He has performed Morton Gould’s Tap Dance Concerto with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, The London Philharmonic at the Royal Festival Hall, the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra at the Pritzer Pavilion and the Little Orchestra Society at Lincoln Center among many others. Lane co-directed the Emmy nominated PBS documentary JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance, curated the first full-length tap concert on a main stage at the Kennedy Center and led more than 80 American tap dancers to China to represent the United States at the 5th Annual Beijing International Dance Festival. Lane has been a driving force behind the development of a new, collaborative dance/arts space in Chicago’s historic Fine Arts Building – the American Rhythm Center.

Lane received a National Endowment for the Arts’ American Masterpieces grant through the Illinois Arts Council, two Ruth Page Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Field and Solo Performance, two Illinois Arts Council Choreography Fellowships and has been recognized by the Chicago Tribune as “Chicagoan of the Year” and three times in Chicago’s New City as one of the city’s 50 Players. Lane was honored to serve on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s transition team for arts and cultural policy. Lane continues to teach, choreograph and perform around the world and has served on many dance faculties including the Lou Conte Dance Studio, Gus Giordano Dance Studio, Northwestern University, Columbia College and at Jacob’s Pillow. Lane currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Beijing Contemporary Music Academy and Chairman of the Board of the International Tap Association.

Ted Louis Levy

Ted’s professional training began in Chicago with Mrs. Shirley Hall Bass and Mr. Finis Henderson II, Master Tap Dancer and former manager of Sammy Davis Jr.. Mr. Henderson encouraged Ted to pursue a professional career in the performing arts, which began at The Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Mr. Levy made his Broadway debut in the smash hit Black & Blue. He collaborated with George C. Wolfe and Gregory Hines on the Choreography of Jelly’s Last Jam, for which he received a TONY NOMINATION, DRAMA DESK NOMINATION and the 1993 OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD. Ted was awarded an EMMY AWARD for his television debut performance in the PBS Special Precious Memories, and appeared in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X for his film debut. His production of Ted Levy and Friends, directed by Gregory Hines, celebrated Ted as one of America’s premier Tap Dance Artists. Influenced by Mr. Hines, Ted acquired his directorial debut as Director of Savion Glover’s, Dancing Under The Stars at the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Delacorte Theater. He also assisted in the choreography of Broadway’s Tony Award winning hit Bring In ‘Da Noise! Bring In ‘Da Funk! Ted appeared in the movie Bojangles with Gregory Hines, returning to Broadway as Papa Jack in Susan Stroman & Harry Conick Jr.’s Thou Shalt Not. Ted portrayed the roll of The Mikado in The Ford Theater’s production of The Hot Mikado. For which he won a HELEN HAYES AWARD. Ted’s most recent accomplishments include appearing in Fly, the story of The Tuskegee Airmen, Sammy, the Leslie Bricusse musical about the life of Sammy Davis Jr. and a 2011 JOSEPH JEFFERSON NOMINATION for Best Supporting Actor in a musical.

Yukiko "Smilie" Misumi

Yukiko “Smilie” Misumi

Tap dancer, Tap percussionist, choreographer, teacher and Director of Artistic Rhythm Tap Network.

She tap dances like a fairy, yet her sharp rhythm and percussive tone creates her own “Misumi World”.

She studied in NY under the great tap master -Henry Le Tang in 1980’s and he named her “smilie”. And late1980’s she studied rhythm tap under Brenda Bafalino. Later she has studied with many great tap master. Especialy she has been affected by Dr.Jimmy Slyde and Dianne Walker.

In Japan, she was a soloist of Jam Tap Dance Company (Kuniyasu Kato /Founder and artistic director) where she was a dance captain, choreographer and assistant to stage director. In 1993, 1996, 2004 and 2006, she co-starred with Dr. Jimmy Slyde at the company’s performance.

1997 she left the company and started Solo activity. In 1999, she started “African Rhythm Tap Series”. She perform at November Eleventh which is a live-bistro owned by Ryudo Uzaki and Yoko Agi (both well-known artist in Japan), Sweet basil139 ,American Club, Theater Apple and more.
In the year of 2000, she made her first appearance at NATIONAL TAP DAY in Japan. And she appeared at St.Louis Tap Festival as one of the representative member from Japan.
2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Smilie operated Artisitic Rhythm Tap Network through dance studios of Chacott. And she opened own studio named ARTN Tap Dance Studio in central Tokyo in 2001.
She hopes to spread tap more in Japan and to promote international cultural exchange through tap dancing.

Guillem Alonso at Tap on Barcelona

Guillem Alonso Alcalay

Guillem Alonso Alcalay was born in Barcelona in 1973.  At the tender age of nine he owned his first pair of tap shoes. Receiving various grants from the Catalan government (Spain) he studied tap dance in New York, where he was taught by famous dancers such as Brenda Bufalino, Barbara Duffy, Savion Glover and others. In 1993 he won 1st prize at the World Tap Championship in Switzerland organized by the International Dance Organization. During Christmas 1995 Guillem appeared as tap soloist for the show Yuletide Celebration, accompanied by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Later on he toured across the USA and Europe with several of the best American tap companies, the American Tap Dance Orchestra, Manhattan Tap, Tap Collective from New York, and Steps Ahead from Los Angeles. Guillem lives in Barcelona where he has worked in various shows such as Keatoniana, New Orleans Jazz & Tap, and Sax Tap. In 1999 he was invited to perform at the Goya Spanish film awards. He also performed and created numerous works for El Nas Vermell show and the Scandal tap dance company. 

Further credits include choreography for the show That’s Jazz, created for the opening of the new theatre Scenic Barcelona, and he has choreographed two tap numbers in the last production of the musical Fame in Madrid. While at home, Guillem organizes and leads weekly tap improvisation sessions, which includes Tap Jam at the Cova del Drac. He is also the founder and director of Barcelona Rhythm Tap Company. During the seasons 2000-02 he was tap soloist in the successful production of Fire of Dance, touring Poland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Hungary, Slovakia and Belgium. He choreographed tap solos and duets, one of those being the captivating Sand dance. This is a style of dance that he has performed with many companies and has become one of his trademarks.

Guillem is a member of Camut Band Tap and Percussion Company, where he was one of the creators of their show La Vida Es Ritme – Life Is Rhythm, which he continues to perform. The show has enjoyed success in dance festivals in Edinburgh (Scotland), Toronto (Canada), New Haven (USA), Greenwich (Great Britain) and Tàrrega (Spain). For the month of September 2001 the show was on Broadway (NY) and performed at the New Victory Theatre and in October 2003 on the West End (London) at the Lyric Theatre. They just created the new show Kiting Kità (Walking with Rhythm)

He is one of the creators and performers of the new shows Booguie Wooguie Tap and Tap Olé, the premiere of this last show was at the Chicago Vittum Theatre on May 2003, with great reviews, and also an apparition at the NBC channel. Lately he is participating at Roxane’s Butterfly new show Djellabah Groove. As a leading member of the tap community, Guillem has introduced and motivated a new generation of tap dancers in Barcelona.

Tre Dumas

Tre Dumas is a Chicago native and currently directs his own company, Jus’ LisTeN and teaches around the globe. Tap dancing since the age of 8, Tre first began attracting the tap community’s attention by representing Tommy Sutton’s Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts as an instructor at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. Soon after, Tre was cast in the national touring revival of Broadway’s “The Tap Dance Kid” where he first worked with Bril Barrett. Shortly thereafter, Tre joined Bril’s existing group “Steppin’ Out” and they started performing together in numerous tap festivals and events. He was then featured in the North-American and European tours of “Riverdance”, dancing with the show for nearly 3 years. Upon his return to his home town, he continued his association with Mr. Barrett developing a vision that was once an idea into an internationally renowned company, M.A.D.D Rhythms.

Within his pursuits, Tre has had the privilege of learning from and sharing stages with Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, Robert L. Reed, Van “The Man” Porter, Paris Mann, and George “Mo Leggs” Patterson III, among others. He has performed and taught for the St. Louis Tap Festival, the Los Angeles Tap Festival, the Detroit Tap Festival, The Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Columbus Taps and with M.A.D.D. Rhythms Canada while also working at countless workshops across North America and Europe. This includes a six month teaching excursion in Stuttgart, Germany. With a highly musical style and a fun and positive approach to teaching, Tre has become one of the country’s brightest up-and-coming tap influences.

Roser Font Caminal

Roser Font Caminal was born in Barcelona in 1976. She began dancing at the early age of seven. She trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, ballroom and theatre dance. Furthermore, she took singing and acting lessons.

In 1996 along with other dancers Roser founded the company Contrac Dansa, appearing as a soloist dancer and singer. She later toured Spain as a member of the Crac al Gag dance company with the musical Fiddler on the Roof.

During July 1998, whilst in Barcelona Roser joined up with the Broadway Stomp ensemble to create a TV commercial.

To develop her jazz and tap, in September 1998, Roser went to study in several of New York’s prestigious dance schools: Dance Space, Steps and the Broadway Dance Center. In the same year she returned to Barcelona to specialized in the Simonson jazz technique.

In 1999 Roser was one of the creators and performers in Trastos, a percussion and tap dance show. Since 1999 she has been a member of the Barcelona Rhythm Tap company, led by Guillem Alonso (her dance partner). With the company and as a soloist tap dancer she has performed with numerous jazz musicians, Dixieland bands, Jazz Festivals, in regular theatres and for television. She also works as guest artist for the Comediants.

During July 2001 Roser was invited to perform tap, musical dance and sing at the Frankental Austrian Festival. The following winter she danced in the well-known improvisational Tap Jams of New York, performing along side renowned dancers such as Roxane Butterfly, Max Pollack, Buster Brown, Rod Ferrone and Omar Edwards.

Throughout 2000-02 she was tap soloist in the successful production of Fire Of Dance, touring Poland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Hungary, Slovakia and Belgium. Here she also performed as a jazz and irish dancer.

She was invited to perform at the Heidelberg Tap Festival in September 2002.

She is director, choreografer and dancer of the Trakatap spectacle, performing in the “Versus Teatre” of Barcelona in March 2006, in the International Valladolid Festival in 2006 and also in the National TV Programme “Mira quien Baila“, among others.

She is soloist tap dancer in the well-known flamenco dancer Rafael Amargo show called Enramblao.

As a leading member of the tap community in Barcelona Roser teaches at numerous dance schools and has been one of the main dancers at the weekly Tap Jams.

Salvo Russo

Salvo Russo, an eclectic Neapolitan musician and composer, earned a diploma in piano at the “S. Pietro a Majella” Conservatory in Naples.

He studied flamenco piano with David Peña Dorantes at the “Escuela Internacional de Música Clásica y Flamenco” in Utrera (Spain).

Salvo Russo is a body percussion teacher and instructor, who regularly holds training courses about body music and musical didactics, both in Italy and abroad.

He works for many Conservatories, Associations, Musical and Dramatic Academies and Schools, amongst which: COSA (China Orff Schulwerk Association), Shanghai Music Education Group (CHINA), Orff Music and Art World (TAIWAN), Nanny Owl Company and U-hu Researce Center St. Petersburg (RUSSIA), BoMed Bedenden Oyuna Istanbul (TURKEY), International Festival of Creative Musical Pedagogy Kiev (UKRAINE), Chigiana Academy (ITALY), Glazbena udruga Opus Musical Academy of Zagabria (CROATIA), Italian Cultural Institute in Athens (GREECE), “G. Verdi” Conservatory in Turin (ITALY), IDA (International Dance Association) in Ravenna (ITALY), Alma Edizioni, a publishing house in Rome (ITALY) and more… 

Salvo Russo has been a member of the All Stars U.S.A. Cast 2019 in Antalya (TURKEY), together with STOMP’s Khalid Freeman and Keith Middleton, beside many other artists from the Cirque du Soleil crew, under the artistic direction of Giulio Scatola.

He is part of the Clarinet and Body Percussion Project, created by the clarinettist Alessandro Carbonare, with whom he made his debut during the 2017 International Festival and Summer Academy of the Accademia Chigiana, in partnership with the University of Siena.

He has founded and directs Flamenco Tango Neapolis (FTN), a project born in 2010 which aims to link the sounds of the Neapolitan classic tradition with flamenco and Argentinian tango, through the music and the dance, creating an original fusion of different styles. FTN has attracted the interest of critics and large audiences, and has been performed in many important festivals and music events in Italy and abroad, some of which are: “The Concerts in the Park” at Casa del Jazz in Rome, Ankara Flamenko Festival, Narnia Festival, La Mama Spoleto Open, Muntagninjazz Festival, Festival Duni, Florence Dance Festival, Flamenco Tango Jazz, Folkest and many more… 

Salvo Russo has published two discographic works: Encanto and Viento. He also produced three theater shows: Encanto, Viento – Da Napoli a Siviglia… a Buenos Aires and Arrassusìa, all of which feature original songs and arrangements by him. 

The list of artists and musicians he’s been working together with includes: Khalid Freeman, Keith Middleton, Giulio Scatola, Emilio Cornejo, Cristiana Pegoraro, Alessandro Carbonare, Irma Cardano, Mvula Sungani, Samuel Peron, Samanta Togni, Mariano Manzella, Ricardo Diaz, Carmen Gamero, Maite Olivares, Rosa Angeles Garcia Clavijo, Caterina Lucia Costa, Sergio Javier, Alejandro Villaescusa, Milagro Acustico, Camerata Strumentale Campana, Fondazione William Walton, Ondanueve String Quartet.

List of publications: 

  • Encanto with the Flamenco Tango Neapolis Project
  • Viento with the Flamenco Tango Neapolis Project 
  • Marmocchi musicali – Nuove idee musicali per bambini della scuola dell’infanzia e della scuola primaria 
  • Body Percussion – Proposte didattiche, brani ed esercizi per la musica del corpo 

Charles Renato

Charles Renato was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He began tap dancing at the age of 6 years old at CBS located in Sao Jose dos Campos. At 14 he began teaching tap dance which lead him to win awards all over Brazil. He has won awards for Best Dancer at the Joinville Dance Festival and the TV Globo challenge show (2009 & 2010).

In 2008 Charles joined the cast of “Sinatra Blue Eyes” the musical in Lisbon, Portugal. Renato was also a member of the “KS Tap Company” which is responsible for bringing together highly sought after teachers from all over Brazil to perform. Charles spends his free time giving workshops and choreographing for many tap companies throughout Brazil and America. He was invited to teach at the LA Tap Fest, DC Tap Fest, Tap City in NY, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, North Carolina Tap Festival, Portland Tap Festival and many others.

Charles Renato was invited to produce and create a section in one of the most prestigious event in Brazil called Carnaval. Since then he has been nominated for best choreographer of Desterro festival and Festidança in Brazil that has lead up to him teaching in America. Most recently he moved to NYC and has been working with Apt 33 directed by Chloe Arnold and performed with Michelle Dorrance and Dorrance Dance.

Renato has also recently been directing the Metropolitan Youth Tap Ensemble (MYTE), and teaching at Metropolitan School of Arts in Virginia. He also directed Apt 33’s new video “I’m not afraid” choreographed by Chloe Arnold. Since he moved to NYC he has been teaching at Broadway Dance Center and Steps On Broadway. At the moment Charles is Artist Resident at American Tap Dance Foundation and he is creating his first project to be premiere in NY this summer.

Check more info on www.charlesrenato.com

Pelham Warner

Founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams, Step Afrika! is the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Under Mr. Williams’ leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s cultural exports, touring more than 50 countries across the globe.  Step Afrika! now ranks as one of the top ten African-American dance companies in the United States.

Step Afrika! blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities; traditional West and Southern African dances; and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into a cohesive, compelling artistic experience. Performances are much more than dance shows; they integrate songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation. The blend of technique, agility, and pure energy makes each performance unique and leaves the audience with their hearts pounding.

Step Afrika! promotes stepping as an educational tool for young people, focusing on teamwork, academic achievement and cross-cultural understanding. The Company reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year through a 50-city tour of colleges and theatres and performs globally as Washington, DC’s one and only Cultural Ambassador. Step Afrika! has earned Mayor’s Arts Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education (2005); Innovation in the Arts (2008); and Excellence in an Artistic Discipline (2012); and performed at the White House for President Barack Obama and the First Lady.

Step Afrika! is featured prominently at the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African-American History & Culture with the world’s first stepping interactive. In 2017, Step Afrika! made its Off-Broadway debut with the critically-acclaimed production, The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence.

To learn more, visit www.stepafrika.org.

Valeria Pinheiro_Cropped

Valeria Pinheiro

Valeria Pinheiro fell in love with dancing by watching her rancher father do the folk percussive step dances of the Northeast of Brazil.  After learning American tap dance, she naturally started merging the forms and abandoned her degree in civil engineering to travel through Brazil, researching its rhythms and traditions.  For the last twenty years, Valeria has developed her unique hybrid, combining tap with the African-based rhythms and dances of Brazil.  She teaches, choreographs, and performs throughout her native country.  In 1999, her company Vata appeared at New York City’s Tap Extravaganza. In 2000, her work Brazil and its Rhythms toured Germany, and last year her new dance/theater musical, Bagaceira (Sugar Cane Pulp), toured Brazil, winning several prestigious awards, as well as government support.  This work is a culmination of her years working to develop a “hybrid body”:  putting together tap, contemporary dance, theater, music, percussion and text to make a contemporary statement about Brazilian culture.

Brazilian Tap:  A dynamic Brazilian hybrid of folkloric and contemporary
rhythms for tap dance.  Get ready to swing your hips, drum with your feet
and groove to Brazilian percussion.