A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

Rhapsody In Taps comes to Little Tokyo. / Photo courtesy of Rhapsody In Taps

Celebrating their 34th season of presenting original tap choreography with live accompaniment, LA’s own Rhapsody In Taps will present their newest work downtown at the Aratani Theatre for one show this Saturday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m.

Described in promotional materials as “paying tribute to the heritage of tap while pushing the boundaries of tap choreography,” choreographer/director/performer Linda Sohl-Ellison writes that the program will explore some time-tested tap traditions as well as reveal new directions in tap dance making.

Accompanied by a six-member band of percussionists, woodwind players, piano, bass, drums and one vocalist under the direction of Tim Messina, the seven-member company of rhythmic movers will premiere three new dances created by Sohl-Ellison: “Heart Song” and “Boot Brigade,” two works exploring tap, body and boot percussion, and “Spoonful of Sugah,” which is described as “a short and sweet percussion piece.”

The program also includes highlights from its three-decades-plus repertory, continuing the company’s mission to fuse tap dancing with a wide range of musical styles — from jazz to klezmer to percussion, Latin, classical, funk and even Balinese gamelan music. Rhythmic ball bouncing and hand percussion fit into the mix, along with bebop tapping on amplified wooden boxes, poetic tap and music improvisations and an energetic ensemble dancing to infectious rhythms.

Tap dancing is going through an exciting resurgence, and Rhapsody In Taps is a big part of this. Seeing/hearing it live can only be a good night’s outing.

—Benn Widdey, Culture Spot LA

The Aratani Theatre is located at 244 S. San Pedro, LA 90012 in Little Tokyo. Tickets are $25-$40 and can be purchased at https://www.rhapsodyintaps.com/events.htm. More info at https://www.rhapsodyintaps.com and https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10026117.