Savion Glover...The Forward Thinking Griot!

Michael Sainte | 3/22/2012, 3:39 p.m.

Savion first garnered attention in his 1985 Broadway debut ( he was 12 years old!) in the play, "The Tap Dance Kid." This was followed by success in the 1989 musical revue, "Black and Blue," a performance for which he became one of the youngest Tony Award nominees at the time. Then came "Jelly's Last Jam," in 1992, where he played the younger incarnation of the title character, portrayed by his mentor, the late, great Gregory Hines. 1996 brought his seminal masterpiece, "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk," for which he received the Tony Award for Best Choreography. What followed and continues to this day is a dazzling array of explorations, performances and collaborations in film, television and concerts with some of the most accomplished and innovative artists of the times.

Savion's been teaching tap since he was 14 and started the HooFeRzClub School for Tap in Newark. He says he is very hands on with the young people he teaches and tries to instill in them the same regard and understanding of this art form that he has. "My school is in a neighborhood where the kids hang out and ride around on their bikes and sometimes I just scoop 'em up and take them inside to share some knowledge about what I do. To me it's far more than just learning steps and routines, it's about viscerally connecting to the spirit and energy that comes from wholly embracing what you're doing and realizing that the creative challenges in doing so are infinite and uplifting." In 2007 Savion Glover Productions created the National Tap Teaching Workshop Tour to encourage communities to invest in the long tradition of Tap History--continuing to spread joy through tap percussion, rhythm and dance. He answers requests and brings his expertise and excitement all around the country.

"Gregory Hines was everything to me. A father, a friend, a mentor--we had this incredible bond and connection that I try to honor in my approach to inspiring those I teach. Receiving awards and recognition at such a young age was beneficial in that it helped me see what I truly wanted to do and empowered me beyond what I imagined. However, the fame, celebrity and attention is nothing to me if it's not contributive to my goals as an artist and performer. That will always be foremost with me."

This Tony Award-winning choreographer, actor and director will join with highly accomplished and renowned tapper Marshall Davis Jr. in a performance of their collaboration, "SoLe SANTUARY: A hoofer's meditation on the art of tap," at the Warner Theatre on Saturday, March 31 at 8 PM. The piece is described as, "an exuberant passage of time through tap and a deliberate, reverential homage to Gregory Hines and many of the aforementioned great tap dancers of the 20th century."

It is folly to simply think of Savion Glover as a phenomenally gifted and skilled tap dancer. He has recreated himself as an instrument, he is a composer who grabs the beat and reforms it as a new incarnation that thrills, excites, informs and entertains. He's on a mission to which he is deeply committed and the world will gloriously observe him as he makes his way through his journey. More importantly, he is dedicated to preserving the legacy and legitimacy of the art form he has come to epitomize and this he does with exuberance and grandeur!

The forward thinking griot, indeed!