Why SoLE PoWER?
Savion Glover (SG): I wanted to explore the rhythmic percussion of a dance that involves an emotional percussive history similar to the hooferz tradition. What many people do not understand is that tap is percussion. While there are traditional hoofer rhythms, each moment, each brush to the floor is an expressive poetry individual to each dancer’s internal voice. Tap dance is a very passionate and emotional rhythmic dance. It has an ancient rhythmic history relative to its cultural history. I feel very familiar with and connected to his percussive lineage, as I do to the hoofer tradition and lineage.
Do you feel that the percussive element of tap as sound is often misunderstood by the mainstream audience?
SG: Yes. One has to understand the context of the hoofer in history. The dance is about sound as much as drumming, music, any instrument. I try to emphasize that as much as possible.
What do you think about when you are performing?
SG: Everything and anything. Most of the time, it’s prayer. I’m just so grateful that I have been given what I have and to share all that I am to the audience.
Are all of these original songs that you have developed for SoLE PoWER?
How do you come up with the names of your songs?
SG: most of our compositions are named or titled with one of the Hooferz in mind. Other than that, I try to figure out how many different ways to say “thank you,” or some type of honorable mention to one who’s been influential towards my approach to tap dance.
You have an insistence with communicating to the audience tap as sound in the past several years - can you expand on that idea?
SG: Tap, the dance, has always been about sound; a percussive instrument; music. I have never learned it to be anything else. I’ve been so blessed with this tradition from my teachers before me, and I’m simply trying to communicate this information clearly, with no room for misinterpretation.
So, if I’m an audience member, and I want to hear you perform these complicated rhythmic patterns or songs that I might identify with, what should I listen for?
SG: I want you to just listen; to whatever you hear. Tap is a way of communicating for me. It’s all that I am. It’s all that I’ve been and will be. It’s a way of life. I’m very blessed. What I wish to communicate is simply joy. Gratitude. Praise. I hope I’m able to achieve this with each composition I create.
What do you think is the biggest misconception in the tap tradition?
SG: That it’s a spectator sport, like basketball. And I love basketball (Mr. Glover laughs). But, I want the audience to listen. Take it in. I take in the audience every night. To hear the hooferz that have come before me.
So, it’s a conversation.
SG: Of sorts, yes. It’s a conversation with everything.
Why do you think some audiences misunderstand the tap tradition?
SG: I think it’s natural to misinterpret a lot of things. It’s the culture. Media can communicate illusion. If one sees a person with sound on their feet, making music, they are going to assume the dance is about something else. However, those who came before me spoke through their feet on so many things: love, suffering, joy. There’s musicality and percussion in the dance I hope the audience can ‘tap’ into.
With SoLE PoWER, what do you want the audience to get?
SG: Whatever they get. I want them to listen. Take in. Talk to me through listening.