Review: Tap Ole in Tapeando at Peacock Theatre

Performance: 3 - 7 May 2011
Reviewed by Libby Costello - Wednesday 4 May 2011

Tap Olé in 'Tapeando'

Tap Olé, a Catalan based company, formed in 2003, offer a very simple premise: Spanish Classical guitar music combined with Rhythm Tap – and they do it well. *Tapeando* is not so much a show to watch – in fact the dancers are rarely used to create a spectacle on stage – it’s the sound of the rhythms, not the visuals, that are the main attraction.

Made up of four dancers and four musicians, Tap Olé offers a blend of rhythmic styles from Classical Spanish to 20th century African American jazz. It’s the rhythms that indicate a change of style, as the set for Tapeando is nothing more than chairs for the musicians, a flurry of spotlights and side lights to illuminate the dancers and the costumes merely hint at Flamenco.

Of the four dancers, it’s Rubén Perez who embodies that grounded footwork and fast-paced, syncopated rhythm which differentiates Rhythm Tap from its Broadway counterpart. The other three dancers kept the Flamenco end of the bargain up, blatantly seen towards the end of the show with Roser Font (choreographer and dancer) coupling her jazz tap style with arm gestures to signify a Flamenco skirt, castanets or a matador’s cape.

Each segment of music/dance has a unique relationship between dancers, musicians and rhythms which keeps your attention for the duration of the show. It’s crowd pleasing rather than show stopping, but what they manage with nothing more than beats is spectacular. The only section that introduces a prop is *Guillem Alonso’*s sand dance. Watching Alonso pour the sand, creating a waterfall illusion in the spotlight, is magical. The scraping, scratching sounds that follow are not quite as poetic but do, when accompanied by the musicians, resemble a DJ mixin’ and scratchin’. If this was the intention of the sand dance then it’s pretty impressive but more likely it was just a clever coincidence.

Tapeando is a tap enthusiast’s dream of a show. Gone are the jazzy hands and Fred Astaire cloned movement. These are replaced by gritty syncopations which build and subside – created by shoes, strings, drums and claps.

Tap Olé is the first of three companies visiting the Peacock Theatre this year for the Spring/Summer season focus on Catalan dance. Nats Nus Dansa and Sol Picó Dance Company follow in June.
Tapeando is at the Peacock Theatre until Sat 7 May 2011 **”More details/booking“:http://www.sadlerswells.com/show/Tap-Ole

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