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Review: ‘Love Taps: An Evening of Romance and Rhythm’

Written by  Kristi Jacobs-Stanley
Love is in the air…
Yes, I’m aware that Valentine’s day was a more than week ago, but the award-winning production, Love Taps: An Evening of Romance and Rhythm by Gulf Coast Theatre on Tap, is heating up the Nims Theater at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts during its limited two-weekend run (February 19-21 and 26-28).
For opening night last weekend, there was an electric energy filling the intimate black box that is the Nims Theater. From opening to closing, this collection of dance and music will have you swaying your shoulders and tapping your toes. Ainsley Matich and the Broken Blues set the perfect mood for the “evening of romance and rhythm.” Arsene Delay’s vocals were a sultry nod to a bygone era. During the many solos, there wasn’t an off note hit. From Heidi Malnar’s playful singing with the band, Ainsley Matich’s soulful solos, and the young company members’ lively ditties, the room was filled with perfect harmony.
One of the most exciting aspects of the production was the collaboration between companies. Nora Clark, founder of Tap that Brass band, had a vivacious improvisational tap number to Lou Rawls’ “Nobody But Me.” Adrianne Mitchell, founder of Jazz City Tap Fest and director of the Kelly School of Dance, lent a student-led work with young dancers who brought a smile to my face. The love of tap was so evident on every dancer’s face throughout the night. It was such a joy to see a room full of artists doing what they love.
Though the night was mostly filled with the happiness of love, it wouldn’t have been complete without showing the side of love we all dread. Perhaps one of the most moving pieces of the night was of a young woman dancing to “Lilac Wine,” a piece that was leased to Theatre on Tap by Mark Yonally and Chicago Tap Theatre. The yearning for a love that is struggling was captured so beautifully. The rhythm of the taps combined with powerful music brought to life the pain we all feel when things don’t go the way we wish in a relationship.
Don’t worry; similar to the ups and downs of our lives, with the start of Act 2, we were right back to the part of love we love most and one of the fiercest tap numbers you’ve ever seen filled with strong women tapping their hearts out.
For so much passion they demonstrated, it’s hard to believe that the young ensemble are still in high school. Sophia Happoldt, one of the Youth Ensemble members, spoke about tap with such excitement and passion after the performance. She said, “It’s rhythm tap, which is different from the tap you see on Broadway. I had to learn a new style of dance and way of thinking, but I love it.”
If you want a night filled with happiness, love, and tap, I highly recommend Love Taps: An Evening of Romance and Rhythm. From start to finish, true appreciation and love for tap was evident on the face of every performer and audience member.

WHATLove Taps: An Evening of Romance and Rhythm by Theatre on Tap
WHERE: NOCCA’s Nims Black Nox Theatre (2800 Chartres St.)
WHEN: February 19, (7:30pm-9:30pm); February 20 (7:30pm-9:30pm); February 21 (2:00pm- 4:00pm; February 26 (7:30pm-9:30pm); February 27 (7:30pm-9:30pm); February 28 (2:00pm- 4:00pm)


Last modified on Tuesday, 23 February 2016
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