Tapping into female power: Brianna Taylor
Dance Writer speaks to Australian female tap artist Brianna Taylor about her recent international success with Nick Young’s Rhythmatic Tap Company.
You are a tap sensation not only in Australia but also in Paris and now LA! How does it feel knowing you are the first Australian to be accepted residency to Nick Young’s Rhythmatic Tap Company? Was it an open audition process or were you approached?
I couldn’t be more grateful for these opportunities I’ve had in my career and I am humbled to be apart of Rhythmatic Tap Company and Nick’s vision for our new show ‘On Top of the World’. I’ve been fortunate enough to work and train in the industry overseas and connect with different artists in the tap dance scene and through those connections Nick approached me about a role within the show he was creating and it all happened from there. I have since performed the show on two different occasions with the company, Bermuda earlier this year and recently in LA. We are also set to perform in San Diego and LA in July and August. I am beyond excited to be a part of this company and perform with these incredible artists who inspire me, it is only the beginning for Rhythmatic.
Who taught you how to tap and take it to the next level?
I grew up in Far North Queensland, Mackay, where I first learned to tap with my teacher, Christine Denny who is an incredible role model for female tap dancers in Australia. My passion for tap dance grew as I started training under the direction of Grant Swift in Melbourne, who has definitely played a big part in shaping my style and understanding of the art form. I first took a class with Jason Samuel Smith and Chloe Arnold when I was 16-years-old and I remember feeling so incredibly inspired and hungry to expand my knowledge. I have since trained in America under some of best in the industry including, Michelle Dorrance, Derick Grant, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuel Smith, Chloe Arnold, Jason Janas and Sarah Reich as well as one of the great masters of the art form Dr Arthur Duncan during the LA Tap Festival.
We don’t see many tap dancers like you so it is great when an Aussie female tapper makes her presence known. Explain how you want to empower other female tappers to make it internationally?
Within the industry, particularly in Australia, there hasn’t been an enormous amount of opportunities for females in the art form. Growing up, most of my teachers and mentors were male and most touring tap shows only had roles available for men. I want other young girls who have the same dream as me when I was growing up to know the possibilities of what they can create and achieve by not feeling limited. I want to inspire the future generation of young female tap dancers and to create more opportunities for them in the industry by putting Aussie female tap dancers on the map internationally.
How can you add value to the tap industry against some critics say it is a dying style of dance?
Tap dance is definitely not a dying art form; in fact, it is alive and kicking more than ever. We are seeing a noticeable increase in the amount of tap dancing on Australian stages within the musical theatre industry and more touring tap companies in the country than ever before. With the world of social media, I also believe we are seeing tap dance making its mark online and reaching a larger market of people. Tap dance is definitely on the rise and I feel it is only going to increase in popularity.
You are also a Capezio athlete. How does Capezio assist with your journey and support the tap industry on an international scale?
I feel so incredibly grateful to represent a brand I believe in so much. I have been wearing Capezio K360 tap shoes my entire professional career and I couldn’t recommend them enough. Capezio is like a family; they have always been there to support me throughout my career by providing me with my favourite custom shoes! It’s amazing to be apart of a global brand that truly believes in the artists they sponsor.
You are coming back to Australia at the end of September to perform in the Australian Tap Dance Festival, which is always a fantastic project to get new tappers involved. Are you excited to bring international knowledge to an Australian audience?
I always love being apart of the Australian Tap Dance Festival each year and sharing my knowledge with all of the students. As much as I love performing, I equally love teaching and giving back to the younger generation. Every time I am overseas, I feel more and more inspired by the artists I get to work and train with, so as a teacher it’s important to continue to feel inspired by learning and growing. American tap repertoire focuses strongly on rhythm and musicality as well as the history of the art form, which is what I feel Australia needs to implement in regular classes. Tap dance is a limitless art form and I’m so excited to see how it grows particular in our country with more artists that are continually being innovative and creating new work and opportunities within the industry.