Dorrance Dance Brings World Premiere ft. Tap Dance Instruments To Jacob’s Pillow

“ETM: The Initial Approach Teaser – Dorrance Dance”

[Becket, MA] – Dorrance Dance returns for an extended, two-week run at Jacob’s Pillow, July 16-27 in the Doris Duke Theatre. Michelle Dorrance, widely acknowledged as one of today’s most accomplished tap artists, is an award-winning dancer, choreographer, musician, and director. In 2013 she was honored with the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, performed at the Pillow’s Season Opening Gala, and, along with composer and musician Toshi Reagon and co-choreographers Derick K. Grant and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, presented the world premiere of The Blues Project to sold-out houses. This season, Dorrance Dance premieres ETM: The Initial Approach, a new collaborative show featuring innovative tap dance instruments created by STOMP and Dorrance Dance member Nicholas Van Young, whose work is featured in the documentary Tap or Die; an appearance by b-girl Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie; and live music by the sensational vocalist Aaron Marcellus, a former American Idol contestant who appeared at Jacob’s Pillow last year as part of the Season Opening Gala. This new work was created in part during a Creative Development Residency at the Pillow. (Dorrance also served as director for The School at Jacob’s Pillow’s 2014 Tap Program earlier this season.)

“Michelle is one of the most gifted artists I’ve worked with,” says Jacob’s Pillow Executive and Artistic Director Ella Baff. “She’s comprehensively talented and boldly creative. She’s a brilliant performer, creative artistic director, has extensive knowledge of tap history and perspective on the arts, she is an inspiring teacher, respected leader in the tap community, and is moving the art form of tap forward in new and exciting ways.”

Praised as a “talented choreographer, the most promising one in tap right now” by Brian Seibert of The New York Times, Michelle Dorrance is among the most respected tap artists of her generation. The hallmark of Dorrance’s choreography is her captivating musicality and innovative integration of diverse performance elements; in this world premiere, she continues to expand the possibilities of tap through technology featuring responsive “instruments” and an outstanding cast of performers. Joining Dorrance is ETM: The Initial Approach co-creator Nicholas Van Young, a lead member of STOMP for nine years who Brian Seibert of The New York Times called “the height of virtuosity” for his performance in Dorrance’s SOUNDspace. Also in the cast is Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie, who appeared at the Pillow this summer as part of Unreal Hip-Hop and has been called “fiercely talented” by Siobhan Burke of The New York Times. Asherie’s experience as a b-girl as well as her training in contemporary dance and ballet adds to the range of vocabularies on display.

Vocalist Aaron Marcellus, “an Atlanta music teacher with some serious pipes” (The New York Times) will also be participating in the artistic collaboration. Marcellus was previously a semifinalist on American Idol and was a featured artist in the “Idols World Tour.” Joining Marcellus will be bassist Gregory Richardson of Darwin Deez and Nicholas Van Young’s rhythmic dance ensemble, SoundMovement Dance.

Performing with Dorrance Dance in ETM: The Initial Approach are three alumni from The School at Jacob’s Pillow, including two-time alum Caleb Teicher. A New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award winner and one of Dance Magazine’s 2012 “25 to Watch,” Teicher has been noted as “a sleek dancer who possesses a beguiling combination of a relaxed upper body with switchblade feet” by Gia Kourlas of The New York Times. Demi Remick, one of Dance Magazine’s 2014 “25 to Watch” and a YoungArts Gold winner, and Elizabeth Burke, a founding member of the company, will also appear. Ali Dietz and Leonardo Sandoval, also alumni of The School at Jacob’s Pillow, will serve as understudies during the engagement. Other performers include Warren Craft and Karida Griffith.

Company History:

Dorrance Dance aims to honor tap dance’s unique history in a new, dynamic, and compelling context. The form of the tradition is not stripped, but instead pushed rhythmically, aesthetically, and conceptually. In 2011, Dorrance Dance’s inaugural performances of Remembering Jimmy and Three to One at Danspace Project in New York City garnered a Bessie Award for “blasting open our notions of tap.” The company has performed as part of the Pillow’s Inside/Out series as well as Danspace Project, The Kennedy Center, The Yard, Symphony Space, New York City Center as part of the Fall for Dance Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Barcelona Tap Festival, The D.C. Tap Festival, The North Carolina Rhythm Tap Festival, The Soul to Sole Festival, and Beantown Tap Festival’s On Tap!, all to critical acclaim.

About Michelle Dorrance:

Michelle Dorrance, founder and Artistic Director of Dorrance Dance, is “one of the hottest tap artists of her generation” (Karen Campbell, The Boston Globe). Dorrance was the 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner, a 2012 Princess Grace Award Winner, 2012 Rockefeller Foundation & Mertz Gilmore-sponsored Field Dance Fund Recipient, and 2011 Bessie Award Winner. She performs, teaches, and choreographs throughout the world. Mentored by Gene Medler, Dorrance grew up performing with the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble and has since performed with STOMP, Manhattan Tap, Savion Glover’s company Ti Dii, JazzTap Ensemble, Barbara Duffy & Company, Rumba Tap, Derick K. Grant’s Imagine Tap, and Jason Samuels Smith’s Chasing the Bird. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and teaches on faculty at Broadway Dance Center.

Jacob’s Pillow Connections: Michelle Dorrance first appeared at the Pillow in 2004 with Cintia Chamecki as part of the Inside/Out series, and returned to perform her own solo work for the series in 2011. In 2013, she premiered The Blues Project with Toshi Reagon in a week-long sold-out engagement in the Doris Duke Theatre. Dorrance was the director of the 2014 Tap Program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow, where Nicholas Van Young joined her on faculty for two weeks, coaching participants on musicality and creating new work. Dorrance Dance has had two Creative Development Residencies at the Pillow to create the world premiere of ETM: The Initial Approach.


Master Classes with Michelle Dorrance

Doris Duke Theatre

Sunday, July 20 & 27 at 10am

For intermediate/advanced dancers, ages 16+. $15 per class. ($10 per class for dance teachers with appropriate I.D.) $80 for a 6-class card. Pre-registration required. Call the Community Dance Hotline, 413.243.9919 x5. Registration opens the week of class; no early registration. FREE to observe.


Dorrance Dance

Doris Duke Theatre
Wednesday, July 16 – Saturday, July 19 & Wednesday, July 23 – Saturday, July 26, 8:15pm
Saturday, July 19, Sunday, July 20, Saturday, July 26, & Sunday, July 27, 2:15pm

Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence Suzanne Carbonneau are offered on the porch of the Doris Duke Theatre 30 minutes before each performance
Tickets $22-45. Now on sale online at, via phone at 413.243.0745, or in person at the Jacob’s Pillow Box Office.
Box Office hours: Sun, Mon, Tues, 11am-5pm; Wednesday- Saturday, 11am-8pm

Pillow Members receive exclusive benefits. To become a Member, call 413.243.9919 x125.

Jacob’s Pillow is located at 358 George Carter Road in Becket, MA, 01223 (10 minutes east on Route 20 from Mass Pike Exit 2). The Jacob’s Pillow campus and theaters are handicapped accessible.

[Photo of Michelle Dorrance by Matthew Murphy]


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