Tapping into the beat of Baltimore

Savion Glover and friends won't have a story line, but they will 'scream, stomp, run around' and make plenty of noise.

April 09, 2000|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,Sun Staff

Savion Glover has tap-danced his way to Broadway. He's tapped his way to the White House. And he's tapped his way to cities around the world. This week Glover, 26, taps his way to Baltimore in "Savion! The Concert" on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. .

But don't go to the Lyric Opera House to see a show. According to Glover, nothing could be further from the truth -- even though the 26-year-old has spent more than half his life on stage.

He made his Broadway debut at age 12, and a year later, became the youngest person nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in "Black and Blue." Ten years later, he won a Tony Award for Choreography for "Bring In `da Noise, Bring In `da Funk," the lively 1996 musical history lesson of the African-American experience.

But "Savion! The Concert" is different, and Glover clearly didn't appreciate a recent review that criticized the production as not being sufficiently theatrical. Glover made his comments in a telephone interview from Columbus, Ohio, where he was performing in his concert.

You said the concert's not a show. So what's it about? This is not a drama or musical. It is a tap concert. It is nothing deep. I don't have a new show; it's just a concert. People who are expecting to see an overwhelming story or expecting something in a certain act, these people might just want to go see "Cats." But what makes it special is that we we have [tap legends] Jimmy Slyde, Dianne Walker and Buster Brown. And we have [10-year-old] Cartier Williams.

You've said that the concert was a way to give your tap-dancing friends a platform. Is that how it came about? I basically grew up on the road with them and it has been a while since we've hung out. So we are doing it here.

You're the choreographer and director? I'm the director because it is my concert. But it's not like I am directing these legends to do anything. These people are their own individuals. I'm not choreographing anything for them. Everyone is doing their own choreography.

How hard is it physically on you? How do you keep up your stamina night after night? It doesn't take that much. It's just like a long workout. All I need is a little something to eat, a little sleep. And prayer gets me through.

When did you start touring? We started in March. We will be going through May.

Is it Broadway bound? Maybe. We don't know. It's not your Broadway type of show.

How and when did you get interested in tap dancing? I was playing percussion in a band. I saw Lon Chaney and Chuck Green tap dancing at a benefit, and I was just turned on by that. Little did I know that my mom was already signing me and my two older brothers up for tap dance. It wasn't like I was dying to do it -- I was 7.

Many people probably don't know you were on "Sesame Street" for five seasons until the age of 12. How did you land on "Sesame Street"? I was doing a show on Broadway at the time -- "Jelly's Last Jam," or "Black and Blue." I was only supposed to be on "Sesame Street" for a week, but they just cast me as a regular guy on the street. It was cool.

Who are some of the people in the business that you grew up admiring and still admire? Those in the concert. People appearing with me. And definitely Lon Chaney, and, of course, Gregory Hines.

What do you see yourself doing five years from now? Ten years from now? I want to be alive, healthy.

Anything else you want to tell Baltimore? Don't come expecting a show. Don't come expecting to see a story line. Come expecting to see us scream, stomp, run around and stage dive.

On TV

What: 'Savion: The Concert'

Where: Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave.

When: April 14 and 15, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $15-$49

Call: 410-481-7328

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