ETM: Double Down
Dorrance Dance honors tap dance’s history while pushing its rhythmic, technical, and conceptual boundaries. By incorporating other forms that have shaped American culture — such as street, club, and experimental dance — the company highlights the traditional elements of tap dance and its musical rhythms in a contemporary context. Founded in 2011 by artistic director and MacArthur “genius” Fellow Michelle Dorrance, the ensemble’s first performance earned a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for “blasting open our notions of tap.”
ETM: Double Down, choreographed by Dorrance and company member Nicholas Van Young, is a 2016 evening-length work that uses electronic tap boards. The stage, in effect, becomes a musical instrument. The score is not just danced to but danced by the company. ETM, which stands for electronic tap music, features eight dancers and six musicians furiously exploring acoustic and digitally produced sounds.
“Since the beginnings of tap dance, practitioners have been lugging around wooden boards, instruments used to drum upon with their feet,” writes a New York Times reviewer. “Now, in an era of electronic dance music, new possibilities beg to be explored. What if you plugged those boards into computers? That’s what Michelle Dorrance does with her troupe, Dorrance Dance, in ETM: Double Down, a fresh and innovative show … .”
Blake and Linda Gall