After the first number in Tap Story: A Pixar Production, Kat Berman ’20 taps out on stage dressed as the Pixar lamp Luxo Jr., timidly stepping into place to recreate the iconic Pixar animation.
This Friday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., Taps at Yale, the University’s only tap dancing group, will hold a Pixar-themed winter show in the Morse-Stiles Crescent Theater, featuring dances choreographed by students. The numbers will include music from movies such as “Monsters, Inc.” and “The Incredibles,” as well as pieces by artists like Chance the Rapper, Flume and The Weeknd.
The group decided on the Pixar theme when one of the first years pitched a song to the group, according to Adriana Lopez ’19, the group’s co-president.
“We are really just looking to spread the love of tap throughout campus,” Lopez said.
The opening number — choreographed by Hannah Kosman GRD ’22 — is called “Taps, Inc,” as an ode to one of Pixar’s earliest blockbuster hits, “Monsters, Inc.” The performance features five dancers ranging in age from first years to graduate students. Dressed in bright neon T-shirts and plastic colored glasses, the dancers blend classic tap moves with modern elements.
To enhance the Pixar theme, the group wrote skits for the interludes between performances that follow a few Pixar characters as if they were Yale students and faculty. The story follows the quest of Marlin and Dory to find Nemo, a first-year student at Yale, as they meet characters from a variety of Pixar films along the way. The quest also includes a character based on University President Peter Salovey.
The group has historically put on one annual show, but this year, the group will hold two productions. Jake Clemente ’19, one of Taps’ co-presidents, said he is proud of this year’s team.
“It’s different every year,” Clemente said. “This past year, one of our core members, Tony Scott ’17, graduated. So, a few of us had to take on leadership positions. But the group is still the same in terms of tap quality.”
Clemente choreographed two small-group pieces and co-choreographed both numbers that feature all members of Taps.
Dance numbers at the fall show all feature tap-related puns that play on the song titles. Some number titles include, “Chance the Tapper,” “Scuffin’ Reminder” and “Tap the Game.” One of the ensemble numbers, set to the song “Life is a Highway,” is titled “Life Is a Highway, We Want to Tap It All Night Long.”
Angele Kelly ’21, a member of Taps, said she is excited to perform her own choreographed piece, “Left-Hand Wing” to the song “Left-Hand Free” by alt-J. But she said she is most excited for Clemente’s choreographed piece to “Cliff” by Lapsley, because “the taps steps are very technical.”
Aptly titled “Closing Credits,” the finale features a medley of Pixar songs that the entire ensemble brings to life on stage, as the group comes together for a final tribute to the franchise that leaves the audience tapping along to the music, nostalgic for the movies of their childhood.
Taps at Yale 2016–17 performance was titled “The Tappers of Oz.”
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