Tap Fest

April 4, 2015

Join the Celebration of Tap! The Trudl Zipper Dance Institute is excited to present the fifth Annual Tap Fest, a day-long festival of workshops led by Jason Samuels Smith, Melinda Sullivan, Steve Zee, Jerry Kalaf, and Aaron Williams. A culminating performance will take place at 5:30 pm in Zipper Hall and will feature our talented students and professional guest tap dancers. Visit this link to register for Tap Fest.

Schedule of events
Location and parking
Tap Fest Artists

Schedule of Events

All events are at the Colburn School are open to the public.

10:30 am–11:30 am

Intermediate Tap with Jason Samuels Smith

Dance Studio B, ages 9-14, $25

11:30 am–12:45 pm
Advanced Tap with Melinda Sullivan
Dance Studio B, ages 14-Adult, $25

12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Percussion Class with Jerry Kalaf
Zipper Hall, ages 9-15, $25

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Advanced Tap with Jason Samuels Smith
Dance Studio B, ages 13-adult, $30

2:45 pm-3:45 pm
Intermediate Tap with Aaron Williams
Dance Studio B, ages 9-14, $25

3:45 pm–5:00 pm
Intermediate/Advanced Adult Tap with Steve Zee
Dance Studio B, Adult Class, $25

5:30 pm
Evening Performance featuring our skilled students alongside professionals including performances by: Monti Ellison, Linda Sohl-Ellison, Jason Samuels Smith, Steve Zee, the Colburn Tap Ensemble, and Colburn Tap Faculty. Music Provided by The Jerry Kalaf Trio.
Zipper Hall, FREE

Location, Parking, and Cafe Information

All Tap Fest events will be held at various venues on the campus of the Colburn School. Maps and signs will be available on campus to direct you to each event. Visit this link for our address and directions.

Our campus is located one block from the Civic Center station off the Metro Red Line, and is convenient to many bus lines.

The Colburn Cafe will be open all day for this event. Grab-and-go salads, sandwiches, and beverages as well as a full grill menu will be offered.

Tap Fest Artists

Blake Colie (Colburn Faculty) hails from North Carolina where he began playing drums at age eleven. Through his drum set studies he was led to begin classical percussion lessons at age sixteen. Blake was then later accepted to North Carolina School of the Arts where he continued all of his musical training on a college level. Blake then transferred to California Institute of the Arts where he pursued a focus on drum set and world percussion exclusively. He graduated from CalArts in 1998 with his BFA and in 2000 with his MFA, both degrees in Music Performance Studies. Blake has since stayed active around the Los Angeles music scene, which has led him to touring the United States extensively with different bands and ensembles. He is currently an artist on Indie label Ubiquity Records with the Funk/Reggae/Rare-Groove band The Lions. Blake is also the touring drummer for Salvador Santana. Blake began accompanying dance classes in 2000 at Plaza de la Raza in Los Angeles. He has been fortunate to accompany workshops held by the Jose Limon Dance Company, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the Hubbard Street Dance Company, and the Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Blake is currently playing dance classes for The Colburn School and Antelope Valley College. More info on Blake can be found on his website.

Monti Ellison (Guest Artist) is an accomplished percussionist/drummer, composer and performer. 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 and drumming; he is an accompanist and faculty member at Loyola Marymount University, Orange Coast College, CSU Long Beach, and The Wooden floor. He has composed numerous scores including 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; Dat's Right, Espiritu, Riptide, FOIL/Copper, Zinc, Brass, Stroke of the Oarsmen, Deciduous Dances, Wade and Chugarump for Rhapsody In Taps plus many compositions for the Monti Ellison Percussion Ensemble.

Hiroshi Hamanishi (Colburn Faculty) is a Los Angeles based tap dancer, choreographer, and educator. Hiroshi has toured nationally and internationally with the production of Caution: Men at Work, TAP. He has had the pleasure of dancing with Alfred Desio, Rhapsody in Taps, Jazz Tap Ensemble, the James Brown Band, Dianne Walker, Arthur Duncan and Gregory Hines. Hiroshi's choreographic interest lies in creating innovative work as well as teaching and recreating many traditional tap dance choreographic works. He has been invited from Spectrum Dance in LA, KIN Dance Company, Tap Overload, St. Louis Tap Festival, NY Fringe Festival, and Idyllwild Arts summer dance program. He directs Honoring the Tap Masters Concert Series and Hiroshi Hamanishi and Friends. An active teacher, Hiroshi is on faculty at the Colburn School, El Camino College, and Loyola Marymount University.

Jerry Kalaf (Colburn Faculty) has been active in the Jazz community for many years. His credits include performances and tours with Eddie Harris, Gary Burton, Gary Foster, Frank Strazzeri, Bill Mays, Bill Perkins, Jimmy Cleveland, The Pointer Sisters, Gregory Hines and Major Holley. Jerry has toured Europe, Asia, Russia, South America, Africa and the United States as musical director of the Jazz Tap Ensemble with performances at the Playboy Jazz festival in Los Angeles, Salzburg Jazz festival in Salzburg Austria and in New York, at Carnegie Hall, and the Apollo Theater. Active in the recording studios of Los Angeles, Jerry has participated as both a performer and composer in scoring sessions for hundreds of film and television shows. A recipient of a "Meet The Composer/California" grant funded by the National Endowment For The Arts and the California Arts Council, Jerry's recording "Just Like Old Times" is a collaboration with arranger Doug Walter and features eight of Jerry's compositions for string orchestra and piano trio. The arrangements challenge and inspire the soloists and show the two sides of Jazz Composition; the interpretation of the written note and the improvising musician's response to it. Jerry's most recent recording, "Welcome to Earth" features eight new compositions for Trio and Sextet.

Angel Pennington (Colburn Faculty) has a M.A. in Urban Studies from California State University Los Angeles. She has performed at the L.A. Tap Festival and with the Jazz/Tap Ensemble at the Ford Amphitheatre and the Jazz Bakery. Other performances include the Black Swan Theater in Ashland, Oregon, and at the Four Queens hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. She has taught for Everybody Dance and at the Tap Academy in Santa Monica. Teaching and loving tap dance for years, she has studied extensively with Sam Weber, Denise Scheerer, and Chance Taylor. She currently teaches elementary students in a private school in West Los Angeles.

Jason Samuels-Smith(Guest Artist) is a performer,choreographer, instructor, who has emerged as a multi-talented leader in the Art form of Tap. Over the course of his extensive travels, he has influenced, and at times, introduced the culture of tap dance to audiences of all ages and social economic backgrounds. Accolades include a Dance Magazine Award, an Emmy and an American Choreography Award for "Outstanding Choreography". Mr. Samuels-Smith has also received Bessie recognition (NY Dance and Performance Awards); the Gregory Hines Humanitarian Award; Hoofers Award; Certificate of Appreciation by the City of Los Angeles for creating the First Annual Los Angeles Tap Festival (2003); Proclamation declaring April 23"Jason Samuels Day" from the City of Shreveport, Louisiana; the "Ivy of Education" from Brainerd Institute; the "President Kenny Award" from Stony Brook; an Andrew Mellon Grant/Joyce Foundation Residency; an Alpert/McDowell Residency Award; an Arts International Grant; National Performance Network and Map funding among others in support of his work. Mr. Samuels Smith aims to promote respect for the art form and create opportunities for tap dancers, as he continues to provide leadership as a spokesman for tap around the world.

Photo by Stephen Hudgins

Denise Scheerer (Colburn Chair, Tap and Musical Theater) Founded and performed with That's Jazz, a Seattle-based Jazz Dance Company. While in Seattle, Denise also choreographed for The Seattle Opera, The Empty Space Theater, The Pioneer Square Theatre, Tacoma Civic Light Opera and the Seattle Civic Light Opera. She choreographed “Anything Goes" and “Oliver" for Los Angeles' West Side Youth Theatre. Denise danced in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel in “Hallelujah Hollywood." She danced in the Albert Brooks film “I'll Do Anything," and was the featured dancer and choreographer for the Roy Clark Special “Especially Roy." Denise has performed with The Jazz Tap Ensemble. She studied and performed with tap legends Eddie Brown and Sam Weber. She taught and performed at the L.A. Tap Festival in 2008. She plays the drums and studied music with Jerry Kalaf, musical director of The Jazz Tap Ensemble. She was dance faculty at Loyola Marymount University for five years. She has taught in NYC for Tradition in Tap workshop in New York City that honored her husband, Robert Scheerer as well as Tap Festivals in St. Louis and Detroit.

Linda Sohl-Ellison (Guest Artist) is the Artistic Director, choreographer, and soloist with Rhapsody In Taps, a Long Beach, CA based touring company of seven tap dancers and six musicians founded in 1981. She has a BFA from Ohio University in Dance and Graphic Design and 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. Recognized for her choreographic innovation in tap, she has been awarded five Choreographers' Fellowships from the NEA, three grants from the James Irvine Foundation and Artist Fellowships from the California Arts Council, Arts Council for Long Beach, Public Corporation for the Arts, NARB and California Community Foundation. She received a Lester Horton Dance Award from the DRC, a Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio University and a Tapestry Award from Soul To Sole Tap Festival for 30 years of contributions to tap. Linda has been a full-time Professor of Dance at Orange Coast College since 1978, where she teaches many dance forms, directs the annual student dance concert and mentors dancers with professional career goals. She appears in several tap film documentaries, teaches and performs throughout the U.S., Asia, France and Germany as a soloist, with Rhapsody In Taps and with her husband, percussionist Monti Ellison.

Melinda Sullivan (Colburn Faculty) is best known from FOX's So You Think You Can Dance, Sullivan has a diverse career in dance, television, and theatre. Stage credits include Disney's High School Musical franchise, the 25th Anniversary Tour of Cats, and dance performances for Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, NY City Center's Fall For Dance Festival and Sadler's Wells in London. Sullivan is the recipient of the coveted Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Award in the Non-Classical dance category and the 2012 Capezio Award for Choreographic Excellence, and she was named among the "25 to Watch" in Dance Magazine. TV/Film credits include Glee, As the World Turns, The Goldbergs, Dancing with the Stars, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Ms. Sullivan is on facultly at Trudi Zipper Dance Institute at The Colburn School, and travels the US with New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA). For more information visit her YouTube or her website.

Photo by Mathew Murphy

Aaron Williams (Guest Artist) is a tap dancer, percussionist, pianist, vocalist, teacher, and composer, originally from Kansas City, Missouri. After receiving his BA in Percussion Performance from Missouri Western State University, Aaron moved to Los Angeles, where he has been teaching and performing since. Some of Aaron's most recent work includes headlining the 2014 Pocono Juggling Festival Show with Collision of Rhythm; being a featured tap dancer in Coca-Cola's “America the Beautiful" commercial, which premiered during Super Bowl XLVIII and aired during the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics; and performing with Sarah Reich's Tap Music Project at the LA County 54th Annual Holiday Celebration, which was televised on KCET. Currently, Aaron teaches music at Children's Community School and dances regularly with Linda Sohl-Ellison's Rhapsody In Taps, Gregg Russell's Tap Sounds Underground, and Steve Zee's LA Ironworks.

Steve Zee (Guest Artist) recently launched Tap Academy Online, the world's first subscription-based tap training program, and currently has subscribers on four continents. Previously, Steve has performed with the Nicholas Brothers, Gregory Hines and countless other tap notables. He has taught and performed all over the US, Europe and South America, edited two oral histories housed at prestigious scholarly institutions and been a member of the Jazz Tap Ensemble and Rhapsody In Taps. He trained Kiril Kulish for the Broadway production of Billy Elliot for which Kiril won the Tony Award and has served as tap coach for pop icons Bette Midler, David Lee Roth and Toni Basil. He currently performs his on-going club act to sold out houses at the M Bar in Hollywood. For more on Steve visit his website.

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