CULTURE

Urban Tap to wow city audience

“The dream becomes stronger and is always present. Most of all, it’s the impatience of having to wait for the dance we haven’t danced yet. Today, we will make a libation to that very dance,» said Tamango, the top performer who will only give one show at the open-air Lycabettus Theater in Athens on Saturday. Tamango, the man who lives for creation, with his rasta hair, an impressive necklace and lots of tattoos on his arms, already wowed Greek audiences when he performed at the International Festival of Music Theater in Volos last year. Tamango’s production «Full Cycle,» a spectacular show of dance, music and video which he performs with his band Urban Tap, combines different music styles from all over the world, tap-dancing, street dance, Brazilian capoeira, Indian vocals, African percussion, jazz and various other elements. Fifteen cameras broadcast the show live on wide screens. When describing his work, Tamango uses words like impulsive, expressive, mystical, revealing and clear. The artist talked to Kathimerini about his life, in view of his forthcoming show. Born in Cayenne in French Guiana, Tamango moved to Paris at the age of 8 to live with his father, who, however, could not spend much time with him. In the building where he lived he met the baron Michael Van Cayseele, who helped him with his studies and eventually adopted him. At the age of 21 he began studying tap dancing at the American Center in Paris and painting at the Paris School of Fine Arts, which he later abandoned in order to learn a kind of bebop tap-dancing in the streets. In 1988 he randomly decided to move to New York, where he first danced in the streets and later in small clubs. He gradually developed his own style: swift and light movements in the legs, while keeping the upper body rather sluggish and free. In 1993 he founded Urban Tap. «The band name came naturally: from this cement jungle we live in, the constant noise, freedom of expression and the poetry that can be found in a child’s voice,» he said. «My work is mostly based on improvisation. I want it to be that way, because I find the art of tap-dancing more complete when I improvise. That way, you can discover the limits of your dancers and test their musicality.» Tamango went on to say that he was inspired by nature, relationships, children’s games and difficult moments. «Most of all, I believe in the healing powers of music and dance, that are so important for humanity,» he added.