For Savion Glover, tap dancing is about rhythm, about taking the beat of the drum and bass -– originally, African instruments -– into the body. He’s had plenty of time to think about his take on the tradition: Now 38, Glover was already appearing on Broadway as a child, making his debut with “The Tap Dance Kid” and following it with “Black and Blue,” “Jelly’s Last Jam” and “Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk,” which he helped create and which landed his choreography a Tony Award.
Much of his work as dancer, choreographer and teacher –- he runs the HooFeRzCLuB School for Tap in Newark, N.J. -– has involved taking some of the showbiz and Hollywood out of tap and and reconnecting it with black history going back to the earliest days of slavery, when slaves were forbidden to play drums.
Glover’s California tour, which brings him to the Valley Performing Arts Center on Saturday, is called “Bare Soundz” and will involve two other dancers as well as elements of flamenco. He says his goal for this show is “to give people a chance to hear the music in dance.”
Here Glover talks about his influences, including his teacher, the late Gregory Hines, who once said that Glover might be the finest tap dancer who’d ever lived, and the dancer Jimmy Slyde, who became one of the most visible exemplars of the jazz side tradition in the '80s through performances in “The Cotton Club” and “Round Midnight.” But, says Glover: “It goes beyond what their profession is: It’s people who’ve brought awareness to the world.”