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Take It Away Dance At Venice Island

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The 7 x 7 Venice Island Concert Series takes place at the new and beautiful performance facility: Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center in Manayunk. This series introduces the artists and the audience to a must-see Philadelphia area venue. It is through these kinds of efforts that we support and enable the Philadelphia Jazz music scene to thrive into the future.


Take It Away Dance will present Cross Rhythms featuring six original tap and jazz music works. Led by tap dancer/choreographers, Pamela Hetherington and Jenn Rose, Take It Away Dance will be accompanied by the Adam Faulk Trio and vocalist, Dena Underwood. Throughout the evening, the musicians and tap soloists will take the stage, highlighting the dynamic and exciting improvisation that happens when tap dancers and jazz musicians play together.

 

Coming Monday, August 10th at 8pm

Take It Away Dance | Cross Rhythms: Exploration of Tap and Jazz Musict

Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center

7 Lock Street,

Philadelphia, PA 19127

*Directions Here

 

Tickets: $15 in advance / More at the door

Buy Tickets Here

 

Philadelphia Jazz Project recently spoke with Take It Away Dance's, Pamela Hetherington about her work.

 

Take 2PJP: Briefly describe your musical direction?

 

Hetherington: I am inspired by any music that makes me get up and dance, because I figure if a certain groove makes me want to dance or bop in my seat, then audience is feeling that, too.  I also pick music that helps me tell the story I want to tell.  Tap dancers have the wonderful ability to be the visual expression of any kind of music. In jazz, particularly, tap dancers can embody the joy, pain, excitement, or chaos of the music, and the possibilities are endless, if you look at it that way.

 

PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach?

 

Hetherington: I watched every movie musical possible growing up, (for the tap dancing). I also watched the Lawrence Welk show, (for the tap dancing), every Saturday night on Channel 12, so I was more familiar with swing standards than most kids. I acquired my first jazz cassettes by accident, in my mid-teens. My mom had the soundtrack to "When Harry Met Sally," which had an entire set of songs and vocals by Harry Connick Jr. I also found a copy of Dave Brubeck's "Take 5" in my dad's cassette collection. I was hooked, so I just kept listening. I knew that master jazz tap dancers in the past had danced to Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Horace Silver and Duke Ellington, so I studied up on them as much as possible, and just went from there.  Today, I am inspired by musicians who push the boundaries of jazz - like Jason Moran or Robert Glasper - because that in turn pushes me to become a better tap musician.

 

Take 3PJP: How do you manage the task of creating and encouraging fresh, new, forward moving musical ideas, while simultaneously exploring, celebrating and documenting the past?


Hetherington: It's extremely important to honor and respect the history of jazz tap dancing, if for no other reason that 99% of the general population has no idea of its importance and place in American music and dance history. I have a responsibility to embody the traditions through my dancing and what I choose to show on stage. One of those primary traditions in jazz tap dancing is improvisation. I work with people who are very comfortable expressing themselves and collaborating with musicians in the moment. However, tap will never attract new audiences, if we don't keep innovating the art form and bringing a fresh perspective to our dancing and music choices. Beyond just pleasing the ear, we can use the music to tell a story, transmit a message and convey emotion, and that's what I like to explore.


PJP: When listening to your music, what advice would you give to audiences to aid with greater understanding and enjoyment?

 

Hetherington: Tap dancers can serve as the percussion in a tune, but we can also take the melody. Sometimes we play around with those two roles. We play with the spaces and rests in between the accompanying instruments. Tap masters know exactly where to place a note, an accent or even silence. That's why tap really blossomed in the bebop era, because hoofers began to realize all of the infinite possibilities of tap as music.

 

PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, why Jazz?

 

Hetherington: Jazz challenges me to be a better musician. You always know where you stand with it - you are either in the pocket, or you're not. If you're not, you have to figure out how to get there. But when you are there - it feels like time stands still.

 

Coming Monday, August 10th at 8pm

Take It Away Dance | Cross Rhythms: Exploration of Tap and Jazz Musict

Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center

7 Lock Street,

Philadelphia, PA 19127

*Directions Here

 

Tickets: $15 in advance / More at the door

Buy Tickets Here

 

 

 

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Tags : TakeItAwayDance VeniceIsland CrossRhythms PamelaHetherington JennRose AdamFaulk DenaUnderwood TapDance WhenHarryMetSally HarryConnickJr. DaveBrubeck Take5 CharlieParker TheloniousMonk MilesDavis HoraceSilver DukeEllington JasonMoran RobertGlasper

 

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On my first record with him, I used no notes, just sound... I never played as powerfully as I did with Sunny Murray... he plays pulse, not beats.
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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.