Sunday, October 19, 2014

Three Things That Made Us Smile This Week

Morgan James' video for "Call My Name" 

we are huge fans of Morgan and her music. if she's playing live in your town, run don't walk!

The Questions of Practice video interview series 

by The Pew Center for the Arts
we were particularly intrigued by this interview with  flamenco dancer and choreographer,  Israel Galván. When addressing the concept of purity and flamenco,  Galván says: "One has to be pure with yourself and impure with the history that already exists." 

The Best of Netflix

thanks to this article by Refinery29, we (binge) watched and loved The Forsyte Saga 

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Things that made us smile last week

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion 
The work was breathtaking. The post-show discussion was a gas, we got a kick out of the lighthearted interactions between the dancers and musicians. Composer Robert Glasper was especially funny and oh so charming!

2nd Striver's Row Home Tour
Learning about the history and architecture of this Historic Harlem, NY neighborhood was a wonderful way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.

 "Turn Up for Tap" 
It was our pleasure to join Marshall Davis, Jr and Savion Glover in hosting this event in honor of 
Tap Legend Steve Condos!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

"Turn up for Tap" in honor of Tap Master, Steve Condos

The "Steve Condos Turn up for Tap" is a party for everyone! Whether you’ve ever laced up a pair of tap shoes or not, come out to enjoy and simultaneously be enlightened about Mr. Condos and the art form of tap dance in a very fun, memorable and celebratory way! ~Marshall Davis

Directions to Ella Lounge!

$10 suggested donation. $5 minimum donation for entry. 100% of all proceeds will go directly to Steve’s wife, Mrs. Lorraine Condos!! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Things that made us smile last week

Disney's 'The Lion King' Becomes History's Top-Grossing Entertainment Title
We couldn't be happier for the creatives, producers, cast and crew (past and present) of this seminal musical! After all, our very own thatgirl is an alum of the show. ;-)

We snagged tickets to see Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion at NY Live Arts!  
Many of the shows were already sold out. If you miss this one, check the company's website and follow on Twitter for future performance dates. 

The Voice with new judges
For obvious reasons...

Alfonso Ribeiro on Dancing with the Stars!!
He's a dancing machine!

Weird Al's Grammarlicious Blurred Lines remake "Word Crimes"

Sunday, September 28, 2014

thatgirl006 catches up with Dancer/Choreographer Ray Mercer

We recently caught up with our multitasking, ever-curious and upbeat friend, dancer/choreographer, Ray Mercer! We first featured Ray in 2008, and it has since been one of our most viewed posts. Over the past six years, we have continued to be inspired by Ray and his work. Needless to say, he has been moving and grooving nonstop both on and off the stage, and it is high time we publish this Ray Mercer update. Enjoy! 

Thatgirl: What are the top 3 changes/developments in your career since our last interview?
Ray Mercer: I am so excited to do this update.  It is so amazing to find out that my post was one of the most viewed.  Since 2008 my career has been going a million miles an hour.  My choreography has won [the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraiser] Gypsy of the Year 7 times, more than any other choreographer in history.  I was also commissioned to do a work for the Smithsonian for the country of Oman.  I now have one of my choreographic works in the Smithsonian.  I have set works on numerous companies around the world, and I am the Resident Choreographer for the Ailey School.   I will be setting a new work on Giordano Dance Company in Chicago this Fall.  Finally, I am also  a Professor at Howard University.  This is all while I am doing 8 shows a week at The Lion King.  

TG: How long have you been in The Lion King and what is your role? 
RM: I have been in the Lion King for 12 years as a dancer.  I have been in my track longer than any other male dancer in Lion King history.

TG: What do you think is one of the most unexpectedly joyous aspects of a long run in the same show? One of the most unexpectedly challenging? 
RM: The fact that I am part of making history with one of the longest running shows in history, and I get to work with some of the best in the industry is truly a blessing.  At times, the show can be physically challenging, you really have to be focused on taking care of your body and mind.

TG: How have you managed to develop your body of work while maintaining the vigorous 8 show a week performance schedule plus the requisite rehearsals of a Broadway show?
RM: I haven't had a day off or a vacation in years.  It really requires good scheduling.  It's a huge sacrifice but it is sooooo worth it.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

TG: Where do you find your creative inspiration?
RM:  I am constantly being inspired.  New York is a constant source of inspiration.   I'm a people watcher, a lot of inspiration comes from that.  I am also inspired by conversations I've had, social issues, family, and friends.  I am also very inspired by the people that I work with.   

TG: Would you like to have a company or are you happy freelancing? (or share your ultimate goal as a choreographer)
RM: I am so happy being a freelance choreographer.   I love working with new dancers all the time.  I am constantly learning and being inspired.  It presents a brand new challenge every time you walk into the studio. I simply love it.  I ultimately want to choreograph a Broadway Show.  That is next on my bucket list.

TG: Name one thing that you do very well but you enjoy the luxury of having someone do for you.
RM:  My laundry!  LOL  

TG: What was the event in your personal history that has influenced your work the most?
RM: Being cast in The Lion King changed my life FOREVER!  It opened so many doors, and provided so many opportunities for  me choreographically.  I have access to some of the best dancers, musicians, song writers, singers, lighting, stage management, wardrobe/costumes in the world.  What choreographer has that at their disposal?  I am truly blessed!!!

TG: Share something that you believed when you were very young that you have found to be true now that you're older and wiser?
RM: My parents taught me at an early age that there are no shortcuts.  You have to work hard and do your best always.  I found this to be very true.  My work ethic has provided so many opportunities for me.  YOU MUST WORK HARD!!!!

TG: What is your favorite way to unwind?
RM: I rarely have any free time.

TG: One dance that you wish you had choreographed or performed first.
RM:  Episodes by Ulysses Dove.   Any of Dove's works for that matter.  He is one of my favorite choreographers.

TG: Which is your favorite movie, TV show featuring dance and why?
RM: I don't watch too much dance on TV.  But I must admit I watch Dance Moms, it's a guilty pleasure. (laughs) I think those little girls work so hard.  

TG: If you could pick the brain of any choreographer dead or alive, who would it be?
RM:  Wow, so many!  Ulysses Dove, Alvin Ailey, Jiří Kylián, Nacho Duato, all for different reasons, but I love their work.

TG: What would be your first question? 
RM: Where do you get your inspiration?

TG: What did you want to be when you were a kid?
RM: I always wanted to work at a gas station.  

Ray Mercer's electric choreography fills the stage as boys from the Broadway casts of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Memphis perform "Boys, Boys, Boys..." at DANCE FROM THE HEART | MEN a performance produced by and benefiting DANCERS RESPONDING TO AIDS (DRA)

Ray Mercer, is a native of Omaha, NE. He is currently in the Broadway cast of The Lion King, NY. Ray started his dance training at the age of 17, where he studied at the University of New Orleans, Chicago, and New York. Mercer has danced with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Chicago, and the Boston Ballet (guest artist). He has worked with Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, Kevin "Iega" Jeff, George Faison, Louis Johnson, and Garth Fagan. Mercer was awarded Joffrey Ballet's Choreographers of Color Award 2012 and Pensacola  Ballet Choreographers Award. He has been the resident choreographer for Ailey B.F.A program. Ray has Directed and Choreographed for the Smithsonian Oman Project. He was a 2011 Capezio Ace Awards Finalist has won Broadway’s Gypsy of the Year Award for best onstage performance in 2005, 2008, 2011, 2012 and, 2013, the Michigan Dance Council Award, and the Black Theater Alliance Award/Chicago, for his choreography. Ray was the resident choreographer for All-City Dance Co in Detroit and Chicago. He has worked with several outreach programs including the Alvin Ailey Summer Camp Program, Ailey Fordham B.F.A  Program, Joffrey Ballet Educational Program, E-Moves Choreographers Showcase (New York), and the National High School Dance Exchange. Mercer was recently commissioned to choreograph a work for the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. He has set ballets on various companies and Universities across the country, such as Philadanco, Dayton Contemporary Dance Co., New Jersey Ballet, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Pensacola Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, and DRA:Dancers Responding to Aids/New York. He has taught classes and master series all over the world. Ray was recently acknowledged in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, and Movmnt Magazine for his choreography.

Keep in touch with Ray on Facebook!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Things that made us smile this week

and the general public was invited to a FREE open rehearsal! 
we suggest you keep and eye on the Thursdays @DTH series

a global movement to "make the world a more tap conscious place"
read our Exclusive Interview with Founder Anthony Morigerato

35 New Yorkers offer their picks for don't miss arts happenings in NYC this fall

Friday, September 19, 2014

thatgirl006 Exclusive: Interview with Anthony Morigerato, Founder + Director of Operation: Tap

thatgirl caught up with Tap Dancer, Choreographer Anthony Morigerato for his very first interview about Operation: Tap, an online forum for dancers, artists, students, teachers, choreographers and  enthusiasts of tap dancing. Operation: Tap was conceived by Morigerato and launched yesterday via Facebook. The mission of Operation: Tap is not only to raise the funds to support Tap projects created by its contributors, but to create a global community of people committed to making "the world a more Tap conscious place." The Operation: Tap program will include: weekly debates, video sharing, mission deployments and musicality and or technique exercises with online classes soon to follow in 2015. 

thatgirl: What was the most difficult aspect of deciding to create Operation: Tap?
Anthony Morigerato: I think my deciding to start Operation: Tap is born out of a 
frustration with the way tap is perceived and received by the general public.

TG: I've heard it said that when we think about what we want to achieve, we often aim well below what we are actually capable of. Do you agree?
AM: I don't personally subscribe to that thinking. I actually sometimes aim too high and then am disappointed in myself for not getting things all the way there. I need to work on making goals realistic and attainable and focusing on how small goals can build upon one another to achieve a larger goal.

TG: With that said, what is your dream for Operation Tap and what it comes to mean? 
AM: My dream for Operation: Tap is to provide finance for viable tap projects that otherwise would fall by the wayside. To provide education to those seeking it. To provide a communal place for tap dancers, to exchange ideas and to receive education that otherwise is not available within a dancer's personal community. To examine taps roots and success stories in the past, to identify qualities and characteristics today's dancers could learn from. To frame the debate on how we bring this art form forward in the 21st century. To educate the public of tap's existence and resurgence within our community. To make the world a more tap conscious place.

TG: Name one thing that you do very well but you enjoy the luxury of having someone do for you. 
AM: I don't know at all.

TG: What is one thing that is often misunderstood or misconstrued about Tap and/or Tap dancers?
AM: That tap is somehow less expressive than ballet or contemporary dance. That a tap dancer can't express complex emotional or artistic themes through their dancing and musicality.

TG:What was the event in your personal history that has influenced your work the most?
AM: The first time I saw Gregory Hines perform live when I was 10 years old.

TG: One dance you wish you had choreographed or performed first.
AM: "War Dance" by The Condos Brothers.

TG: 'Tap Dancer' 'Hoofer' or 'Percussive Dance Artist'?
AM: Tap Dancer

TG: Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?
AM: Gene Kelly

TG: "Tap" or "White Knights"?
AM: "Tap"

TG: Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens? 
AM: Queens

TG: Anything you want our readers to know that we didn't ask? 
AM: Please join us and participate to make Operation: Tap a reality.

"War Dance" Choreographed and Performed by The Condos Brothers

Ayodele Casel, Tap Dancer, Choreographer, Actor (and thatgirl006 Director of Digital Content & Photography), is a Founding Member + Co-Director of Operation: Tap. Follow her on Twitter @AyoLives.

Mike Minery, Tap Dancer, Choreographer, Artistic Director and Educator, is a Founding Member + Co-Director of Operation: Tap. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMinery.

As a performer Anthony Morigerato has been a soloist and member of Michael Minery's Tapaholics and is the lead tap dancer and choreographer for the musical group Matt and Anthony. He has performed on stages all over the world and on television on the Tony Danza Show and NBC's America's Got Talent. Anthony is an accomplished dancer in all disciplines having trained at Marymount Manhattan College where he performed the work of ballet and modern luminaries such as Robert Battle, Elizabeth Higgins, Jiri Kylian, Katie Langan, David Parsons, and William Soleu. He has served as an adjudicator and master teacher for dance organizations, competitions, theater schools, and dance studios throughout the nation since 1999, having students go on to perform in every medium of the performance industry on stages all over the world. Most recently, Anthony's choreography was featured on season 11 of So You Think You Can Dance. Follow Anthony on Twitter @MorigeratoTaps.

Join the Operation: Tap Movement! 

More posts about this fabulous movement, its directors, contributors and community members coming soon!