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EMANCIPATION 150: Watch Savion Glover’s Tap Improvisation

Monday June 17 2024 • 7:50pm - 7:50pm ET

Tony Award-winning tap dancer and choreographer Savion Glover joined us in The Greene Space to talk tap, dance and “The Rhythm of Freedom” — part of our ongoing EMANCIPATION 150 series.

During their conversation, host and journalist Charisse Jones noted records of African slaves using tap as a form of communication, having had their drums — what they previously used to communicate —  taken away by slave owners. Through the rhythm of their feet, they expressed disapproval, defiance, even mockery of their owners. Jones asked Glover how he saw tap being used as a form of expression today.

“I try to produce or evoke…feelings of a state of meditation, feelings of prayer,” Savion said. “There are sounds that we can make that will make you cry…or think. It becomes more audial than visual. A lot of times the visual can be distracting.”

Here he performs a nearly 15-minute tap improvisation, a form through which he says he best expresses himself. “This is not a routine,” he said, asking the audience not to watch him, but to instead hear his feet. “You should be listening for the music, you should be listening to your soul.”

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