Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Dorrance Dance revolutionizes tap style in ‘ETM’ Feb. 27 at Eisenhower

“The entire stage is an instrument” in “ETM: Double Down,” an evening-length dance work by Dorrance Dance. The tap troupe will bridge the gap between technology and organic movement in the production at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, in Eisenhower Auditorium.

Purchase tickets, which are $38 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student, and $28 for a person 18 and younger. A grant from the University Park Student Fee Board makes Penn State student prices possible.

“ETM: Double Down” is a collaboration between troupe artistic director and MacArthur “genius” Fellow Michelle Dorrance and longtime company dancer and choreographer Nicholas Van Young. The program celebrates the origins of tap dance, in a contemporary context, by using electronic tap trigger boards. The effect of the dancer eliciting sound corresponding to each footstep is similar to the scene in the 1988 Tom Hanks film “Big,” in which his character dances on an oversized keyboard on the floor.

Dorrance toured with “Stomp” before founding her company in 2011. The ensemble won a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for its debut performance. One of Dorrance’s missions is to increase awareness and appreciation of the history of tap dance. The award-winning choreographer also lectures about the dance style at arts organizations and educational institutions throughout the country.

The Los Angeles Times praised the ensemble, writing the dancers “reflected plenty of racial, physical and stylistic diversity, yet could deliver complex unison footwork with a precision matching any cookie-cutter tap corps of the past.”

The New York Times described “ETM: Double Down” as a Jacob’s Pillow festival fan favorite. It “pushes the boundaries of tap while exposing its true nature: That it is music.”

Find more information about the company and the event.

Watch a trailer for “ETM: Double Down.” 

Audio description, which is especially helpful to patrons with sight loss, is available for this performance at no extra charge to ticket holders. Reservations are required by Tuesday, Feb. 13. Phone 814-238-0132 to reserve the service.

Blake and Linda Gall sponsor the performance.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or artists, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.