skip to main content

Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2018 / February 

Dorrance Dance uses technology to turn the performance stage into a musical instrument

February 13, 2018

Dorrance Dance
Dorrance Dance performs "ETM: Double Down."

Dorrance Dance transforms the art of tap, turning the entire stage into a musical instrument for its performance of “ETM: Double Down” on Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Presented by the Moss Arts Center, the performance will be held in the center's Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.

Dorrance Dance presents a unique and powerful history of tap dance in a dynamic and new context. Led by artistic director Michelle Dorrance, the company upholds the tradition of tap, while simultaneously pushing it rhythmically, technically, and conceptually.

The performance “ETM: Double Down” is a collaboration between Dorrance Dance and company member Nicholas Van Young. ETM stands for “electronic tap music,” giving a nod to electronic dance music. The show incorporates Young’s electronic tap boards, which are like electronic drum triggers for dancers’ feet. With these boards, the score is composed in real time by the dancers – a single footfall can become anything from a snare drum to a note on an arpeggio.

“Tap dance was America’s first street form and is deeply rooted in the foundations of hip-hop and house dance,” Dorrance explains. “These communities have long been connected on the streets and in the club but are less likely to be found on the concert stage. As we enter the world of electronic music, looping, and sampling, these worlds become even closer and that connection ever more important.”

A 2015 MacArthur Fellow, Dorrance founded Dorrance Dance in 2011. The company’s inaugural performance garnered a Bessie Award and, since then, Dorrance Dance has performed for audiences in venues including the Kennedy Center, New York City Center, Lincoln Center Out of Doors (New York), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, National Arts Centre of Canada, Danse Danse Montreal, and Hong Kong Arts Festival, among others.

This performance by Dorrance Dance is supported in part by a gift from Sherwood Quillen.

During their visit, Dorrance Dance will perform a free school-day performance for sixth- through 12th-grade students from Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, and Tazewell counties, as well as the City of Radford.

Tickets

Tickets for the performance are $25-$55 for general public and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email kacy@vt.edu during regular business hours.