Tap Students at The School at Jacob’s Pillow

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2017 | Tap Students

by | Jul 13, 2017 | Dance

I’m excited to share more tap images from Jacob’s Pillow – this time switching focus from the performing artists onstage to the students at The School at Jacob’s Pillow’s tap program. The tap program was led by Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and Michelle Dorrance. There were many awesome guest artists teaching, including Dianne Walker, Derick K. Grant, and Sam Weber.

Students in Michelle Dorrance’s class

Dianne Walker

Michelle Dorrance’s class

The students were studying and performing tap during the week TIRELESS was performed, so they were able to see amazing performers in tap and be inspired by their unique styles and artistic choices. Ian Berg and Reona Seo are both alums of The School, and the Pillow loves to connect past participants with new students to show how they’ve grown and evolved in their field.

Derick K. Grant’s class

Derick K. Grant’s class

Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards

In addition to our in-studio photos, I made creative portraits with some of the tap students on the Pillow grounds. Another fun adventure bringing tap dance outdoors!

Naomi Funkai & Michelle May

Michelle May

Naomi Funaki, Michelle May & Sydney Burtis

Michelle May

Sydney Burtis

Naomi Funaki

All tap students had the chance to experience a dance battle hosted by Jacob’s Pillow, which was awesome. A bunch of students chose to participate. Sydney Burtis, a 16 year old in the program, won the battle! She was up against several battle-tested professional dancers of different styles and she totally killed it.

Tap student participating in the dance battle

Dance battle winner Sydney Burtis

Tap student participates in the dance battle

Michelle May in the dance battle

There was an impromptu dance battle a few years ago that was a big hit at the Pillow. This year, they planned an invitation-only battle on Sunday night after the shows. Michelle Dorrance hosted, and they even had a live DJ for the event. The Pillow sold tickets so people could come to watch, which was a great idea. First round, everyone got 30 seconds and the four judges cut the field in half and paired people up. Then they did knockout rounds. It was intense, inspiring, and mostly FUN!  People were really into it.

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