There's a tendency to think tap's had its day, but 'Happy Feet' kept us in the race. That penguin is our Shirley Temple.
I want tap to be something danced in arenas. Sort of like a rock group. Other art forms happen every night. Take theater, opera; there's always opera happening every night.
Just like a comedian has a certain joke or a jazz musician has a riff that they know will get the crowd, a tap dancer always has a step.
There's no dancer alive better than those of the 1950s and 1960s. It's only the energy that changes. Every now and then, someone like me comes along, and people say, 'Oh, this guy is this new thing.' But that's not so. There is no me without them. The tradition just goes on.
There's a whole new generation who know about tap dancing thanks to 'Happy Feet.'
I'm continuing the educational process of getting people to accept dance as music.
I've never looked at what I do as show business, I guess, because of my connection to the art and how I was introduced to the dance.
I never really stop and think about should I put my hat on this way or that, not thinking that little JoJo down the street would be copying that. I'm more conscious about it now and tell the kids that it's not about the shoes or what kind of shoes... it's all about the dance.
There are people who take tap class, do a tap dance. And then there are people who know the dance, who know why they take tap classes. Who know why they do 20 shuffles, or 50 shuffles, before they go on.
When Puffy asked me to do the video, I said yes. Cuz it's all about the Benjamins!
I did a production called 'Classical Savion,' where I did some Shostakovich, Mendelssohn, Bach, Vivaldi, and all these great pieces.
What does genius mean? God has put us here specifically... every person has a job or journey to do. It's just a matter of finding what we're here to fulfill or execute. That's genius to me.
I'm inspired by breath, by the human body - by so many things.
Frank Sinatra changed people's approach to singing. Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, van Gogh, they were all part of movements that allowed people to think about their craft differently. They changed the game. These people changed the game.
Tap is still the central driving force of my life. I think and talk in dance.
I used to think I could save tap. But tap was here way before I was, and it's going to be here after I'm gone.
It's as if my left heel is my bass drum and my right heel is the floor tom-tom. I can get snare out of my right toe by not putting it down on the floor hard, and, if I want cymbals, I land flat on both feet, full strength on the floor.
We need these figures who don't exactly go against the grain but create a new grain.
I like to express myself inside of the work that is given, and I let the dancers do the same.
Great athletes last because they let the mental do all the work. What we do as hoofers is not so much a physical strain as everybody thinks. It's more of a mental stretch.
I don't deal in terminology, I deal with expressions: colors, shapes, tones, characteristics.
Every now and then, someone comes along - we used to call it 'New Jack' - tries to do something new, tries to take all the credit, without acknowledging the past.
My mom couldn't afford dance shoes, so she put me in these old cowboy boots with a hard bottom so I could get some sound out. I used them for seven months. When I finally got real tap shoes, I was nervous. I kept moving my feet, thinking, 'Oh, so this is how it's supposed to sound.'
When you think about John Coltrane, in my opinion - and I think I share this opinion with a lot of people - his approach to music changed other people's approach to music.
Tap dancing is like... it's equivalent to music, not only for the African American community, but also for the world. Tap dancing is like language; it's like air: it's like everything else that we need in order to survive. I'm blessed and honored to be knowledgeable of the art form and to be a part of the art form.
I search for different tonalities in my taps. But my greatest pleasure is hearing a note I haven't heard before, hearing a chord that sparks something new.
I feel it's my duty, my job, now to allow people to hear the dance to different genres of music, to ensure audiences have the chance to listen to tap dancing up against all these other styles.
Movie making is such a long process, and they only use that one take, although you do it over and over about 30 times. Live theatre is that one time and one time only.
When I'm on TV or whatever, I'm able to bring my instruments, my board, and my sound is intact. But other kids who are on TV, when they're doing tap, sometimes they're just on the regular floor. It's not as safe; it's not as sound-worthy as it should be.
I want to entertain, but I'm interested in a whole range of feelings.
The youth coming up is interested in dance now, and they're coming to the shows. That's a blessing for those of us who create.
I'm still growing, still learning. I'm still open and vulnerable enough to know there's much more to be taught to me and learned by me. I hope I don't reach my pinnacle on this earth where I think I know it all.
I grew up watching Gregory Hines banging out rhythms like drum beats, and Jimmy Slyde dancing these melodies, you know, bop-bah-be-do-bap, not just tap-tap-tap. Everyone else was dancing in monotone, but I could hear the hoofers in stereo, and they influenced me to have this musical approach towards tap.
When you find real jazz on the radio dial, it comes in all static-y. It's just like tap dancers. You have to go uptown to find the real hoofers. We only come to midtown if we're called upon.
Whatever you do, just learn about what you're doing; get into it.
They all come from the street - tap, jazz and flamenco. And the streets are always changing. If it comes from the streets, change is the only thing that's consistent.
I've changed my whole angle for dance. I'm moving towards moving back rather than hanging out with my peers. I'm reaching back to older dudes for a second.
I'm always inspired by music, things of that nature. Just life in general. I'm happy to be waking up and having another chance at it.
A tapper sticks to existing routines. Whereas hoofing... a hoofer pushes the art form.
I don't really care what the visual is looking like. I've gotten away from - not shenanigans, but spectacle.
I was first introduced to dancing through the TV: I remember watching ballet, jazz and ballroom dancing when I was very little. But I felt no connection with it whatsoever: it was just like watching a Tom and Jerry cartoon.
I try to convey the musical notes through dance, take on the music.
I was very happy with the success of 'Noise/Funk,' but of course, there is a lot more that I have to say about the dance, about the history, about the people involved with the dance and their history.