Drei Menschen die Tap Dance tanzen

Tap Dance

Tap dance is a fascinating phenomenon with origins in European and African dance tradition since the middle of the 17th century. This dance technique is characterised by demanding footwork, improvisational skills, and the joy of a “challenge”. Tap dance’s heyday is surely the American 20th century. The dancers become percussionists, and the genre is currently experiencing a renaissance in numerous metropolises around the world, embracing different dance and music styles, among them hip hop, funk and techno. Choreographer, dancer and teacher Daniel Luka, tanzhaus nrw’s most prominent figure from this dance area, emphasises the use of the English term “tap dance”, which marks it as a contemporary art form. Apart from regular classes, tanzhaus nrw hosts the annual Tap Dance Days, that resonate with current streams, in workshops and performances within the house for four days.


Portrait Daniel Luka

Daniel Luka

When Daniel Luka, aged five, watched a TV show featuring tap dance, he was quick on deciding: “I want to do this, too!” His mother enrolled him in a dance course, and his love for tap dance was burning brightly. He started teaching in his hometown of Wuppertal when he was only fourteen, living and dancing in New York and Barcelona a few years later. Today, Daniel is a versatile performer collaborating with top-class artists from the international dance and music scenes. All the while, he likes pushing boundaries, experimenting with hip hop music or electronic beats, looking for any entanglement with video or digital art and absorbing impulses by vastly different cultures. Among his inspirations are masters of the genre like Chuck Green, Jimmy Slyde and Sarah Petronio, in whose performances he participated internationally and also at various times during the tap dance days at tanzhaus nrw. He is the choreographer and producer within his own company “Daniel Luka & The Tapengers”, roles he also fulfils for shows like “Feel The Tap”, “Tap A Tune” and “Resonance”. He danced as a soloist with the WDR Big Band at the Cologne Philharmonic and is the founder and host of “Tap Jam Düsseldorf”.

Elise McGrenera mit Mittelscheitel und langen, schwarzen, welligen, offenen Haaren. Sie trägt ein weißes Top. Hinter ihr sind verschwommen Blätter einer Pflanze zu sehen.

Elise McGrenera

Elise McGrenera is a tap dancer from Vancouver, Canada. She has traveled around the world to participate in dance festivals in Vancouver, Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Stockholm where she trained with some of the masters in tap dance. Elise is an alumna of the School at Jacob's Pillow where she was accepted into the 2019 tap dance program and graduated with the Professional Advancement in Dance Award. She was a featured dancer in the 2019 Vancouver premier of Danny Nielsen’s On Foot as well as both the 2021 and 2022 productions of Jeffrey Dawson and Friends presented by the Vancouver Tap Dance Society. In 2022, Elise co-founded the tap dance collective Boys’ Club which was invited to showcase their first full-length work throughout Europe. Most recently, Elise joined Danny Nielsen’s cast of On Foot as a principal dancer for a BC tour.

Heather Cornell, weiße Tap Dance Dozentin mit kurzen weißen Haaren. Sie trägt ein Top und einen Schal, eine graue Hose und Tap Dance Schuhen. Sie macht einen Tap Move und lacht in die Kamera blickend.

Heather Cornell

Tap Dancer, choreographer and teacher, Heather Cornell is the artistic director of „Manhattan Tap“, one of the leading tap ensembles from 1985 to 2004. She credits the development of her style as an apprentice to Charlie “Cookie” Cook, as well as such other first-generation American tap masters as James Buster Brown, Eddie Brown, Steve Condos, Chuck Green, and the Copasetics, whom she performed with. She was also mentored by the iconic bassist Ray Brown and they collaborated on original music for tap over a number of years. In the 1980s Cornell was a member of the „Jazz Tap Ensemble“, with whom she was cited for dancing with insouciant musicality. She was one of the first tap dancers to collaborate with world music, performing in music ensembles as a percussionist, and is one of the main influences for many of the dancers
leading the international scene today. Her concept of teaching bilingual music/dance artists made her Professor in Dance Department at Hope College in Michigan, teaching Tap Performance and History, Improvisation, Global Percussive Music and Dance Perspectives, as well as Basics of Physical Percussion.

Josette Wiggan, Schwarze Frau in Bewegung mit vielen feinen geflochtenen Zöpfen in schwarzem Top und orangenem Rock vor gemusteretem Hintergrund

Josette Wiggan

An internationally acclaimed and much sought after educator/ choreographer/ performer, Josette Wiggan has dedicated her life to the perpetuation of African American Vernacular Jazz Dance. She began her dance adventure with Paul and Arlene Kennedy in Los Angeles at the age of 12. Her love for performing was fostered by the Kennedys and then refined as an adult while dancing with Jazz Tap Ensemble until 2007. A graduate of UCLA, Josette’s career highlights include, the 2001 Spotlight Award winner in non-classical dance category, the first National Broadway Tour of 42nd Street, 2004 Bessie Award Nominee for Outstanding Performance in the Baker/Tarpaga Project, movies Idlewild and Princess and the Frog, and studying with Germaine Acogny at L’ecole les Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal. Alongside her brother, Joseph Wiggan, she was part of two original casts of Cirque du Soleil’s Banana Shpeel and Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour from 2009-2013. The duo also performed in Tireless, a curated show by Michelle Dorrance that had its debut at Jacob’s Pillow in 2017. Josette was also a part of Dorrance’s all woman quartet that created the works Until the Real Comes Along and and All Good Things Must Come and End. In 2019, Wiggan was also a co-creator with Michelle Dorrance and Hannah Heller for a Christmas work entitled, …The Nutcracker Suite… and in 2020 created and directed a work for film featuring vernacular jazz and tap dance entitled, Harlem Stomp. In 2021, Josette created her first evening length work, Praise: The Inevitable Fruit of Gratitude, in collaboration with Grammy nominated, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold and the cast of Dorrance Dance. It had its debut at Jacob’s Pillow and the Queens Theatre in the Park. In 2023, Josette’s began her own tap company, Josette Wiggan Presents… and developed a new work entitled, On Solid Ground: A Celebration of Black Joy and Freedom In Our America and her first solo work, Threshing Floor: A Place of Mediation and Melody at American Dance Platform 2024. In addition, Josette is currently on faculty at USC’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, teaching Vernacular Jazz and Tap Dance and is excited to be participating in Colburn Tap Fest 2024.

Josh Hilberman

Josh Hilberman

Tap dance artist Joshua Hilberman was trained by tap and vaudeville stars of the 1930s and has shared the stage with Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, Brenda Bufalino and almost every other famous tap dancer. His longtime artistic partners include mentors Bufalino and the great tap dance pianist Paul Arslanian. Together with dancer/producer Drika Overton and the German duo Tap and Tray, Josh has been creating and performing original ensemble and solo theatre productions for over 25 years. Josh has taught hundreds of workshops and tap dance festivals including New York, Chicago, Vancouver, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Stockholm, etc. His deep understanding of tap dance in performance combined with a healthy sense of humour make him an entertaining, patient and insightful teacher. He has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the US Presidential Scholars Teachers Recognition Award and the Premi Claqueta of the Dancers of Barcelona, Spain for significant contributions to the tap community. Since 2013, he has lived in Liège, Belgium with his wife Stéphanie and young son Félix. Together they run the Claquettes Club, a centre for tap dance in Belgium.

Laura Donaldson, weiße Tap Dance Dozentin, mit langen, dunklen, offenen Haaren mit Pony. Sie trägt ein graues Top und blickt in die Kamera. Im Hintergrund sieht man verschwommen einen Raum mit Fensterfronten.

Laura Donaldson

Laura Donaldson is a tap dancer, teacher and choreographer from Calgary, Alberta. Laura continues to develop her artistic voice through practice, research, creation, teaching and performing in Canada and abroad. Laura has performed in works by Lisa La Touche, Danny Nielsen, Tasha Lawson, Derick Grant and more. Highlights include Fall For Dance North, Fluid Festival, Tap Dance Days at tanzhaus nrw, Tap Liege Festival. She is an alumna of The School at Jacob’s Pillow as part of the Tap Dance Performance Ensemble. Laura co-founded the tap dance collective Boys’ Club which recently premiered their first full-length work in Belgium and Barcelona. Laura also performed in (in)sight dance’s commissioned piece Mirror/Water/Doorway at the Toronto International Tap Dance Festival. Most recently she was on tour as a principal dancer with Danny Nielsen’s On Foot in BC. Laura is also researching a new work which has been supported by Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and The GRAND.

Leela Petronio, eine franko-amerikanische Tap Dance Tänzerin, hier Tap tanzend mit Pferdeschwanz und in schwarzem Top, langer Hose und Steppschuhen, darüber eine grüne offene Lederjacke. Der Hintergrund ist schwarz.

Leela Petronio

Leela Petronio is a Franco-American tap dancer and body percussionist. She is a choreographer, teacher and producer and has been part of the European cast of STOMP since 2001. She is the artistic director of the Hip Tap Project, a percussive dance ensemble that combines tap rhythm, hip hop, body percussion and live music in its work. Leela studied with tap masters Sarah Petronio, Jimmy Slyde and Steve Condos. Her eclectic approach has led her to participate in many different projects, including performances with Cirque du Soleil in Italy, a tap concert with a symphony orchestra at Paris' Opéra Comique, the Soul to Sole Festival in Austin, and the Joyce Theater for New York's "Tap City," the International Body Music Festival. In 2012, she was part of the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games with STOMP. She performs regularly in Sarah Petronio's "Jazz in Motion" and "Thelonius". She is part of the international cast of the new show "Body Music - hear dance, see music" directed by Keith Terry, which premiered at the Maison des métallos in Paris in October 2016. Leela has taught rhythm tap and body music workshops in Europe, Brazil, Senegal, Australia, Turkey, Israel and at many international tap festivals in the US. In France, she works regularly with professional multidisciplinary dancers at the National Centre for Dance, among others, has developed a percussive dance programme for music and dance teachers and is very active in youth work around rhythm. She produced the 8th edition of the International Body Music Festival in Paris in October 2016.

Veronica Simpson, weiße Tap Dance Dozentin mit kinnlangen blonden Haaren, die sie mit Mittelscheitel offen trägt. Ihre Lippen sind knallrot geschminkt und ihr schwarzes Oberteil verschwimmt mit dem Hintergrund. Zu sehen ist noch ihre rechte Hand die durch eine Umarmung auf ihrem linken Oberarm ruht.

Veronica Simpsons

Veronica Simpson is a dancer and theatre artist based in Toronto. Performance credits include projects with Dorrance Dance, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Rhythm and Sound, (in)sight dance, Dianne Montgomery at Fall For Dance North, Michelle Dorrance at New York City Center, and Danny Nielsen’s 2023 tour of On Foot. In 2021, she attended the School at Jacob’s Pillow as part of the Tap Dance Performance Ensemble studying closely alongside Michelle Dorrance, Derick Grant, and Dormeshia. Veronica is also the co-founder of the tap dance collective Boys’ Club, which has been selected for national and international residencies and performances at tanzhaus nrw, Toes for Dance, Leña Arts Residency, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, the Claquettes Club, and Golem’s Theatre. Most recently, Veronica joined the cast of Dorrance Dance: the Nutcracker Suite on their US tour which premiered at the Kennedy Center. Veronica continues her freelance and creation work in Toronto and travels regularly to New York City to study with and work alongside prominent tap dancers.