Savion Glover’s ‘STePz’ at The Music Center at Strathmore

Friday night an enthusiastic and sold-out crowd voraciously devoured Savion Glover’s show STePz featuring American tap dancing icon Savion Glover, Marshall Davis, Jr, and the 3 Controversial Woman aka 3CW featuring accomplished hoofers Robyn Watson, Lisa LaTouche, and Sarah Savelli. The cast are all incredible tap dancers, and these hoofers worked it and gave it their all during the show.

Savion Glover. Photo by Lois Greenfield.
Savion Glover. Photo by Lois Greenfield.

Glover choreographed and directed the show. He is a Tony Award winner, choreographer, and producer. His work has been seen on Broadway in Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk, Jelly’s Last Jam  and his work has been seen in the films Happy Feet I and Happy Feet II, respectively. STePZ was an all-Americana celebration covering different genres of music.

The simple set was effectively used. On stage they had a raised wooden platform and three sets of steps behind the raised wooden platform. One could smell the wood as they tapped danced on it.  The steps were not shown at first during the show, and were slowly revealed with the two steps on either side of the stage first and the middle step revealed in the second act.

As Glover shouted “Are you ready?” the crowd cheered back ‘YES”, and then   Glover confidently stepped on stage by himself dancing to John Coltrane’s “Miles Mode.” He was then joined by Davis and one by one the others joined in. The power of the dancing was intense!

Next Glover and Davis danced by themselves as the women quietly slinked off the stage. The music slowed down and it sounded like rain. Then two of the 3CW joined them and made poses liked Madonna’s “Vogue.” I loved the jumping in the dance routine.

The third routine was one of my favorites. It featured Glover and Davis, flying up and down the stairs perilously to the theme song of “Mission Impossible” while hitting each stair with their tap dancing shoes. The song transitioned to a slower jam and the two men seemed to be ad-libbing and competing with each other to show who had the better foot moves. Quite amazing. The song turned classical with Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony (Op. 110a), and the 3CW dancers arrived and danced with Glover and Davis on the main stage. It was like ‘tapping dancing ballet,’ as they lined up in a row and interspersed each other. Hilariously, Glover and Davis came on stage with masquerade masks a la Phantom of the Opera, and the crowd laughed.

The last dance was a slow song leaving Glover by himself as the rest of the group took flight from the stage. At first I thought there was something broken on stage as I heard this incessant tapping. I then realized it was Glover subtlety tapping his foot. He danced by himself showcasing his mastery of tap as he glided on the stage to Miles Davis’ Flamenco Sketches.

After a 15-minute intermission, the show returned with a patriotic song, Benny Goodman’s Bugle Call Rag as 3CW arrived in black vests and white shirts with black pants. They danced intensely on the stage. Glover and Davis then joined them with Davis in a blue shirt and Glover in a pink, button-down shirt opened to a t-shirt. I loved the coordinated dance moves and the twirls as they tapped in synch.

Glover then announced, “We are going to do something different and do something unrehearsed.” He dedicated the number to Marcelle who we could hear lauging off-stage. Glover then asked his soundman to make sure the echo technology worked and Glover tested it out by swiping his foot. Glover then sang Michael Jackson’s song, “The Way You Make Me Feel” as the audience and the cast members joined him singing and snapping and slow tapping. At the end of the song he swiped his foot to an echo.

Then it was back to Glover and Davis dancing on the stairs with no soundtrack. I loved the sliding of the feet up and down the stairs. Such intensity. It was cool when they both sat down at the top of the stairs and kept tapping away echoing each other.

Next, the standard turned to jazz music and two of the 3CW in colorful outfits joined Davis on the stage and then Glover and the other 3CW joined. The music got more hard core and intense. The women came on stage as the men danced on the steps behind them. Very cool.

The last two sets were my top two favorites. Glover danced by himself to a whimsical “Mr. Bogangles” sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.  It was beautiful and moving.

Lastly the whole troupe performed “Stevie Delicious,” to Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” and killed it.

The show ended with thunderous applause and a standing ovation that lasted for quite awhile.

Running Time: Two hours, with a 15-minute intermission.

Savion Glover’s STePZ was performed on February 6, 2015 at the Music Center of Strathmore -5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda, MD. For future performances, check their calendar of events.

RATING: FOUR-AND-A-HALF-STARS11.gif

http://youtu.be/W5r3x4awZ2I

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Marlene Hall
Marlene Hall grew up an army brat and has lived all over the world and in Washington, DC where she was constantly exposed to theater and music. Marlene graduated from the University of Virginia where she wrote for the Cavalier Daily interviewing musicians. Commissioned as an Air Force officer, she served 8 years. She now works as a realtor with eXp Realty. In addition, Marlene dabbles in improvisational comedy and has taken classes at the famed iO Theater in Chicago and the DC Improv. She is very active in the DC charity and social scene and contributes her time to veterans’ organizations Team Rubicon and Team Red, White, and Blue. She also was a supernumerary in the Washington National Opera’s Carmen with opera singer Denyce Graves. She loves the music and theater scene in DC and goes to as many concerts and shows as possible.