Humour was injected into Chaise Rossiello's performance, as he channeled his inner John Travolta à la Saturday Night Fever and tore up the dance floor. While the men are good naturedly competitive, they also work in tandem to create some phenomenal group numbers. Six men tap dancing, while simultaneously dribbling basketballs all in sync is no easy feat.
Admittedly, when I have attended dance performances in the past that did not have linear narratives, my thoughts would wander off to my never-ending to-do list. Watching Tap Dogs, I was fully present, attentive and engaged from beginning to end, eagerly anticipating the new and innovative moves these performers would execute. One of the most awing and memorable tricks was when dancer Donovan Helma was harnessed upside down and animatedly tap danced on a small suspended ceiling with blood rushing to his head, all in the name of entertainment!
The troupe kept up a high-energy pace, never waning and leaving everything on the stage, including copious puddles of sweat.
These guys brought it.
Not only were they laying it all on the floor, they effortlessly created and seamlessly assembled the ever-changing and dynamic sets. Be it erecting scaffolding to do the shuffle-step on, to raising ladders to leap from, these physically fit men flaunted their mastery in physical stamina, endurance and strength; not to mention their fancy footwork.
Kicking off their heavy duty Blundstone work tap boots, they traded them in for rubber rain tap boots. These men proceeded to dance on raised metal sheets drenched with water, all the while mischievously splashing the audience members closest to the stage, who raucously applauded the spectacle.
The dancers' toe-tapping rhythm blended in perfect harmony with percussionist Stephen Ferradino's hard hitting, rock beats. Bold and brash, the performers encouraged audience participation and the audience enthusiastically obliged by clapping and snapping in time with the beat. Take the first step (cue cymbals), and purchase your ticket before these 'dogs' tap their way out of Toronto. ---Alison Silveira
Created and Choreographed: Dein Perry
Designer/Direction: Nigel Triffitt
Music: Andrew Wilkie
Featuring: Anthony Russo, James Doubtfire, Anthony Locascio, Donovan Helma, Chaise Rossiello, Dominic Mortezadeh, MacKenzie Greenwell and Matt Saffron
Tap Dogs plays at the Royal Alexandra Theatre until September 30, 2012