Tony Award-Winning Tap Dancer and Choreographer
Savion Glover’s numerous credits include the Broadway shows The Tap Dance Kid; Black and Blue; Jelly’s Last Jam; and Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, and the films Tap with Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr.; Bamboozled by Spike Lee; and Happy Feet 1 and 2, an Academy Award winner choreographed by Glover.…
Savion Glover’s numerous credits include the Broadway shows The Tap Dance Kid; Black and Blue; Jelly’s Last Jam; and Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, and the films Tap with Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr.; Bamboozled by Spike Lee; and Happy Feet 1 and 2, an Academy Award winner choreographed by Glover.
Savion Glover’s newest production, OM, is as much a mystical experience as a dancing one. The performance, which spans about seventy minutes with no intermission, begins with a lengthy jazz recording of what I think is Calling by Kenny Garrett, very improvy -sounding and full of saxophone. During this pre-performance period, the audience views the front of the stage lined with small bulbs that seem to flicker in the half-light with a head of Buddha on one side.
Finally the curtain is raised, revealing the stage set with hundreds of candles of all sizes, and photos of Glover’s spiritual mentors, some dance figures like Gregory Hines and others more spiritual like Gandhi. I’m not sure where Michael Jackson fits in. Glover, minus his trademark dreads, stood on a small platform in the center where he remained for the entire performance.
Two woman entered from stage right, a man from stage left and several other people of indeterminate gender arrived, sat in the lotus position and stayed there throughout, unmoving. Some of the time, Marshall Davis, Jr., Glover’s long-time collaborator, danced next to Glover.
At the beginning, a spoken word piece that ranged from Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my Shepherd…”) to selections from other faiths were played to make it clear that the entire piece was about a world-wide longing for spirituality. The program note for Glover says only his name, that he is (hoofer, father, husband), Praise Almighty God and Chaney, I love you, not a lot to go on.
One of the three sequences (The Offeringz, The Prayers and The Resolutionz—I have no idea where one ended and the next began—included what I think is a Hindu chant that went on and on. While Glover danced, the other performers moved their arms or pushed their palms together in the Namaste gesture familiar to anyone who has ever been near a yoga class. For a long time—so long I wondered how he could sustain it—the man on the right, costumed in a white jumpsuit, held a difficult pose in a deep squat, balancing on his toes, knees out at the sides. The lighting remained dim throughout.
Glover is unquestionably a brilliant dancer who has devised steps that no other dancer, except possibly Mr. Davis, can match. No less a talent than Gregory Hines has called him the “best tap dancer in the world.” His rolling tap is unique and, for a while, hypnotic. For most of the performance he barely moved his upper body except in a brief sequence in which his arms moved in front of his body from side to side.
Other than Glover’s truly outstanding talent, the evening was static. Glover says he is using traditional rhythms to “give the audience a transformative journey of the spirit to its ultimate source: the soul” and that he hopes the production helps the audience understand more “about the importance of the divine-ONE.” There was nothing engaging about the experience that brought the audience in, (in fact, quite a few people departed well before the performance was over.) The tapping was loud and penetrating to the point of being intrusive, as though I was on the other side of a rhythmic, pneumatic drill.
At first I was transfixed, marveling at the skill Glover displayed. As time passed and nothing, save differing sequences of complex steps, changed my interest waned and my attention turned to wondering if the candles were real or electric. By the time the curtain came down, I was incredibly glad the performance was over. Interestingly, there was no curtain call. Perhaps Glover is so exhausted he can’t stand up another moment or maybe to acknowledge the audience would intrude on what seemed to be a private moment between him and his spiritual quest.
If you are a deeply spiritual person or a devotee of chanting, the performance may have some meaning. For me it was both too much and too little—too much chanting, too little variety, no sense of joy or fun. I left the Joyce Theater with great admiration for Glover and ears that rang for a good hour afterwards.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
An Evening With Savion Glover
Savion Glover performs
1 HOUR OR LESS