Marisa Peryer

Described as amazing and delightful by attendees, the opening night of “The Great British Tap Off” by the tap-dancing group Taps at Yale was a success. The sold-out performance, which took place on Wednesday night from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Morse-Stiles Crescent Underground Theater, demonstrated the group’s expertise.

Taps choreographed 13 different numbers to songs by both American and British artists.

From upbeat and charismatic routines to slow and more intimate dances, the group put together a well-balanced performance that showcased many styles of tap and music.

“I think [the show] went really well,” said Adriana Lopez ’19, co-president of Taps at Yale. “The energy was there.”

The program featured Matt Spero ’21, who performed a technical solo to “Daydream Believer” by The Monkees. Spero, a U.S. grand national tap champion, choreographed the solo himself in just an hour and a half.

“I was very impressed with his footwork,” said audience member Nick Padin ’21.

Nikhil Patel ’21, who went to the show with Padin, added that Spero’s performance “was very intricate.”

The audience collectively seemed to enjoy both Spero’s solo and the rest of the program. Encouraged by the company’s co-presidents to make noise when they saw a move they liked, audience members whooped and cheered during every number.

Several other members arranged dances for the show. The choreography of co-president Jake Clemente ’19 was on display during an a cappella routine titled “#rushTaps” that featured six members of the company who performed without music.

“I really liked the a cappella [dance] — they were so in sync,” said Anelisa Fergus ’19, who saw tap dancing live for the first time on Wednesday night.

Taps incorporated a number of light-hearted, British-themed interludes into the show’s program to disperse the dancing. The short performances featured members of the company acting out scenes that played on the show’s British theme and also poked fun at Yale culture. Each interlude was a continuation of the previous, establishing a narrative that ran throughout the show.

“I thought the interludes made [the show] really fun,” Padin said. “They played on Yale stereotypes with British culture and in that way, at least, I think it made [the show] more engaging.”

For Jessica Nelson ’18, Sabine Decatur ’18 and Katie Sabin ’18, “The Great British Tap Off” marks their final performance for Taps at Yale. However, Lopez and Clemente expressed optimism for next season.

“We tapped a ton of freshman this year –– there’s a lot of young talent,” Lopez said. “The future of Taps looks really bright.”

Spero, who said he decided to join the group after seeing Clemente’s tap solo during last year’s Bulldog Days, said his first season with Taps pushed him to explore tap styles outside of those taught at his previous dance studio.

“I’ve definitely noticed that my style and choreography [have] changed a lot due to working with a bunch of different people,” Spero said.

The group will perform the “The Great British Tap Off” twice more at the Morse-Stiles Crescent Underground Theater on Friday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Marisa Peryer | marisa.peryer@yale.edu