Tap Into America

Despite only occasional glimpses of the mainstream, tap dance remains an iconic American art form.


About Michelle Dorrance

Michelle Dorrance is a New York City-based tap dancer, choreographer, director, teacher, performer, and is the Founder and Artistic Director of Dorrance Dance. Mentored by Gene Medler, she grew up performing with his North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble and has since performed with: STOMP, Savion Glover’s Ti Dii, Manhattan Tap, Barbara Duffy & Co, JazzTap Ensemble, Rumba Tap, Ayodele Casel’s Diary of a Tap Dancer, Mable Lee’s Dancing Ladies, Harold Cromer’s original Opus One, Derick Grant’s Imagine Tap, Jason Samuels Smith’s Charlie’s Angels/Chasing the Bird, Jon Batiste and Stay Human on CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and toured the US, Europe, and Australia playing the bass for indie-pop sensation, Darwin Deez. 

Most recently, Michelle served as Vail Dance Festival’s 2017 Artist-In-Residence, curated Tireless: A Tap Dance Experience at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival while co-directing its tap education program with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, and collaborated with Nicholas Van Young on Works and Process at the Guggenheim Museum’s first site-specific commission for the Guggenheim Rotunda. Michelle’s choreography is performed throughout the world and has been featured at countless theaters, clubs, and festivals, including a choreographic commission for the The Martha Graham Dance Company as a part of their Lamentation Variations, and a high-fashion short film for Tabitha Simmons. 

Michelle is a 2016-17 New York City Center Choreography Fellow, 2016 United States Artists Award Recipient, 2015 MacArthur Fellow, 2014 Alpert Award winner, 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner, 2012 Princess Grace Award winner, 2012 Field Dance Fund recipient, 2011/2015 Bessie Award winner. She is an Artist-In-Residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation, has been featured on the cover of Dance Magazine and Dance Teacher Magazine, is a Capezio Athlete, is a Virgo (Aquarius rising, Gemini moon), and her favorite colors are various shades of green and grey. A passionate educator, Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, she teaches on faculty at IFTRA, taught on faculty at Broadway Dance Center for over a decade, and teaches as a guest artist at universities, festivals, and arts organizations through the world. Michelle wishes to credit the master hoofers from whom she studied with in her youth for constant inspiration and influence.

(from Dorrance Dance)

About Robert Burden

Robert Burden, Jr. received his BFA in jazz/theater dance from the University of the Arts in 1987. He studied Hoofin (tap dance) under his mentor LaVaughn Robinson and Germaine Ingram, two of Philadelphia’s tap masters. He is currently the Artistic Director of Tap Team Two & Company, Inc., the Philadelphia based company that tours the country for Young Audiences of America. Robert currently teaches tap at the Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center, Philadanco and JoVo Dance.

(from Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center)

About Pamela Hetherington

Pamela is a professional dancer, choreographer, educator and artistic director. A Philadelphia native, she began her training at the Philadelphia Civic Ballet and the Next Generation Dance Theater, directed by the late Stephan Love, who recognized her passion for tap and connected her with many great tap teachers in Philadelphia, including Leon Evans, Delphine Mantz, LaVaughn Robinson, and Robert F. Burden, Jr.  She joined Philadelphia tap company, Tap Team Two, at the age of sixteen and was a principle dancer with the company for fifteen years, during which time she performed widely in major theaters, venues and festivals all over Philadelphia and the East Coast. In 2013, she created Take It Away Dance, a tap dance and live music company that performs all over Philadelphia and New York. She works consistently as a solo dance artist in the tri-state area and is swing member of the Sophisticated Ladies show at the Cotton Club in New York, under the direction of Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards. 

(from Edge Dance Company)