Tap Fest

April 3, 2016

Join us for a full day of tap and participate in master classes from tap icons Sam Weber, Mark Mendonca, and Chloe Arnold. In the evening there will be an all-star performance featuring our guest artists with the Colburn Tap Ensemble, Tuesday Night Tap Ensemble, and the Colburn School tap faculty. The performance is open to the public, and live music will be provided by the Jerry Kalaf trio.


Quick Links

Tap Fest Artists
Schedule of Events
Location and Parking


Tap Fest Artists

Chloé Arnold (Guest Artist) is a leading lady in the art form of tap, who has wooed audiences in over 28 countries and 35 states. She was seen on FOX's So You Think You Can Dance as the winner of the dance crew battle with her company Syncopated Ladies. Along with viral videos such as "Beyonce Tap Salute" which was shared by Beyonce, Syncopated Ladies have sold out concerts in Dubai, New York City, and Washington D.C. with rave reviews in the New York Times and more. Co-founder and co-director of the D.C. Tap Festival, Chloé's career highlights include choreographing CBS' The Talk- Rocktober Halloween Spectacular, HBO's The Comeback, commercials for Special K, Macy's and Canon, performing at Madison Square Garden for the opening of the New York Knicks 2013–14 season, working with Beyonce, guest performing on NBC's America's Got Talent, and appearing as a recurring role on HBO's Boardwalk Empire. Her one woman show My Life. My Diary. My Dance had a sold out at La MaMa in New York City. She has also performed at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids Easter Bonnet at the Minskoff Theater, in numerous musical productions with the legendary Debbie Allen and at a star-studded gala hosted by Diddy at the Howard Theatre in Washington D.C. Chloé is also a female entrepreneur that holds an Ivy League degree from Columbia University. She and her sister co-founded Chloé and Maud Productions, and recently co-produced the award-winning documentary TAP WORLD with Hollywood Executive Producer Dean Hargrove. For more information please visit her website.


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.

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.


Mark Mendonca (Guest Artist) is a performer and choreographer whose extensive career includes performances for three US Presidents, performances on Broadway, television, and concert stages around the world. Mark's dancing was motion captured for the animated feature film "Polar Express", directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks. In 2000, Mark was chosen to open for Barbara Streisand's farewell concert tour with performances at Madison Square Garden in New York and the Staples Center in Los Angeles. On Broadway, Mark danced in the Tony Award-winning production of Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk, and has also performed at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Davies Symphony Hall, the Biennale de la Danse, the Joyce Theater, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the Tiger Palast in Frankfurt, and the Apollo Theater, among many others. He has shared the stage with the late tap masters the Nicholas Brothers, Jimmy Slyde, Charles 'Honi' Coles, Eddie Brown, Steve Condos, Chuck Green, Bunny Briggs, Lou Chaney, and Buster Brown, and has made numerous appearances with friend and mentor Gregory Hines, appearing with him in A Gala for the President at Ford's Theatre, and in The Kennedy Center Honors, both televised on ABC. Mark's dancing was featured in the Emmy Award-nominated documentary Juba: The Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance, which aired on PBS, and in The Summit of the Americas, which aired in Canada. Mark worked with the Jazz Tap Ensemble and went on to form his own company, The Steps Ahead Tap Trio, which toured both nationally and internationally. As an educator, Mark has taught and performed at dance festivals across the US including the Colorado Dance Festival, Florida Dance Festival as well as festivals in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, Portland, and Anchorage. He has been on the faculty at Loyola Marymount University and Santa Monica College, and has also taught classes at UCLA, Cal State LA, Cal Stage Long Beach, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and Orange County High School for the Arts. Mark has also worked with director James Brooks, choreographer Twyla Tharp and fellow tap dancers Bill Irwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Elizabeth Berkeley, and Christopher Walken. Mark was the first person to receive a Princess Grace Foundation Award for tap dance and was the winner of the 1997 Lester Horton Award for outstanding achievement in individual performance in Los Angeles. Mark has also received a Brody Art Fund Fellowship.

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.

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

Sam Weber (Guest Artist) is an award winning artist who gained a global reputation in the world of tap dance and is in demand internationally as a performer, master teacher and choreographer. A protegé of tap master Steve Kahn in San Francisco, he was a principal dancer and choreographer with the Jazz Tap Ensemble from 1986 - 2009 and received acclaim at home and abroad touring with the company. He was the first tap dancer to receive New York's 'Bessie' award, presented in recognition of outstanding artistic achievement. He has appeared at international tap festivals since the first Colorado Tap Festival in 1986, and has taught and performed with such legendary tap masters as Charles 'Honi' Coles, Jimmy Slyde, Steve Condos, Buster Brown, Gregory Hines and the Nicholas Brothers. Sam is one of the few tap dancers in the world who performs Morton Gould's Tap Dance Concerto. He is also the recipient of numerous tap dance awards, including the Legacy Award from the Third Coast Rhythm Project, the Giant Steps Award from the San Francisco Tap Festival, and the Juba Award from the Chicago HUman Rhythm Project. He has taught at UCLA, Cal State University Fullerton, Cal State University Los Angeles, and San Francisco State University. He teaches regular classes at ODC SChool and City Dance School in San Francisco.

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.


Schedule of Events

TapFest is open to the public. Registration required.

10:30 am–11:30 am
Intermediate Tap with Mark Mendonca
Dance Studio B, ages 9-12, $25

11:30 am–12:45 pm
Advanced Tap with Chloe Arnold
Dance Studio B, ages 13-Adult, $25

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

1 pm – 2:30 pm
Advanced Tap with Sam Weber
Dance Studio B, ages 13-adult, $30

2:45 pm-3:45 pm
Intermediate/Advanced Tap with Mark Mendonca
Dance Studio B, ages 9-14, $25

3:45 pm–5 pm
Intermediate/Advanced Adult Tap with Sam Weber.
Dance Studio B, Adult Class, $25

5:30 pm
Evening Performance
Featuring students, guest artists, and tap faculty
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.

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