Fans of tap dancing in Malaysia were recently treated to an eye-opening performance of rhythm tap at Schokalart Salon-Lounge at SohoKL @ Solaris Mon't Kiara, Kuala Lumpur from November 14 - 16 2008. The show called Tap Raiders was directed by Toh Kong Eu, the founder and first artistic director of Rhythm Tappers @ Malaysia. Toh, who studied tap dancing in the USA under various masters like Savion Glover, Diane Walker, Brenda Bufalino, Barbara Duffy and Van Porter was an engineer with a petroleum company before giving up his job to become a rhythm tap artiste, choreographer and teacher in Malaysia.
Tap Raiders showcased seven items performed by teachers, students and guest artistes with choreography by Toh, second artistic director Pang Shueh Miin, Diane Walker and Leon Collins. The show kicked-off with an acappella tap performance by an octet of dancers. During an interlude, Toh had the audience in rapt attention with a solo performance. He later performed a duet with Phang (pic) to a beautifully choreographed number done to a funk style with some fusion of swing. Actress, model and accomplished tapper, Jojo Struys who was a guest artist, also performed a duet with Toh. Their improvised routine incorporated elements of street and hip hop.
Tap dance has historically been a highly individualistic dance form that allows the dancer considerable artistic, stylistic and interpretative freedom. As a result, there are many different styles of tap dancing that exist today due to its natural development and growth. Examples of tap dance genres include rhythm, flash, classical and show (Broadway-style) tap. Most tap dances that are performed on the major concert stages in the US today can be considered as rhythm tap. Rhythm tap in itself is also an extremely broad category since elements of other dance forms (and also different styles of tap) are usually present in tap dance.
Rhythm Tappers @ Malaysia aims to promote tap dance as an art from in Malaysia. Their goal is to create awareness, understanding and appreciation of rhythm tap via performances, workshops, lectures, demonstrations and word-of-mouth. Contrary to popular belief, one can tap dance to any style of music or groove. Rhythm tap is essentially looking at tap's original essence - rhythmic expression with an emphasis on the musicality and expression of tap. More importantly the message is that tap can co-exist with alternative music forms like pop, hip-hop, funk and R&B. The aim is to present tap as an exciting and hip dance & music form.
Best Wishes As Usual,