Thursday, March 1, 2012


Buster, Baby and Hawk:
Masters of Maryland Tap
Presented by Creative Alliance & Coppin State University, CSU Sharing the Stage: Creating Community Through Dance

WHEN: Saturday, March 10, 7:30 PM
James Weldon Johnson Auditorium, Coppin University 2500 W. North Ave., Baltimore
$20, $15 advance, $10 students, $5 Coppin students
Adv. tixs, 410.276.1651 or CA 3134 Eastern Ave.
Supported by a grant from the Maryland Traditions Program of the Maryland State Arts Council

The Show
A phenomenal jazz tap showcase with awesome dancing, live music and video celebrating Baltimore as proud home to three of the most talented jazz tap dance percussionists in history: Baby Laurence, Buster Brown and Louis "Hawk" Hawkins.

JasonSamuelsSmithOvertop10Hosted by the fabulous Maria Broom (The Wire) with Emmy-Award winning Jason Samuels Smith (right, Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk), dynamic sisters Chloe and Maud Arnold (founders, DC Tap Festival), young tap phenom Luke Nielsen Spring, NYC's Toes Tiranoff & Megan Haungs, Coppin teacher and professional dancer Quynn Johnson (below left, formerly with Savion Glover's company) and Coppin's BRAVO Youth Program dancers, and DC's high-energy, young Capital Taps company dance up a storm reprising the steps of the masters, and new work inspired by them.

Quynn JohnsonThe East Coasts ' premiere tap accompanist Frank Owens is on keys leading his Trio, with special guest Michael Raitzyk on guitar, performing music from Baltimore's storied jazz composers. Plus archival footage on the Masters in their prime! AND area tap dancers are invited to bring their shoes and join on stage for the big closing jam!

The show is a collaboration between Creative Alliance, championing the arts of Baltimore, and Coppin's brand new (only one year old!) Dance Major program created by Vanessa Coles.

The Masters
Baby Laurence is generally considered to be the greatest tap dancer produced by the modern jazz movement, and one of the first to adapt to the bebop style. He appeared with virtually the entire canon of jazz greats of the 40’s and 50’s: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Mingus and Art Tatum. Born Laurence Donald Jackson in Baltimore in 1921, he grew up singing and dancing for money at the Royal on Pennsylvania Avenue and the Gayety and Oasis on Baltimore Street.

3-10 04 Hawk Smiling _LouisLouis “Hawk” Hawkins (right). A regular in the 1930s and 1940s at the jazz clubs along Pennsylvania Ave. as well as the Howard in Washington DC and the Apollo in New York, many still remember Hawkins as a much-loved fixture in Fells Point bars during the 1970s thru 90s, where he made the rounds dancing for tips. He shared bills with the likes of Count Basie, Pearl Bailey, Redd Foxx, Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald, and helped train a later generation of hoofers to carry on the traditionat a time when tap was almost forgotten. Hawkins was born in Baltimore in 1916.

Buster Brown was a major figure on the tap scene for most of the 20th century. Born in Baltimore in 1913, he toured relentlessly from the 30’s to the 50’s as a solo act or as part of the Speed Kings, Brown and Beige, the Hoofers and others. In the 60’s he performed for Haile Selassie, and toured as a soloist with Duke Ellington’s band’s famous “Sacred Concert.” In his later years, with the tap resurgence of the 80’s and 90’s, Brown enjoyed success on Broadway and toured with Savion Glover.