TERRY BROCK joined JTE in 1988 for several years and was featured in USIA Arts America tour of Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Dominican Republic dancing her solo “Lady Be Good” along with Dally’s trio, Night in Tunisia.
DERICK K. GRANT debuted as a featured dancer with the JTE in 1992 at the Joyce Theater. Born and raised in Boston, he tributes Andrea Major, Paul and Arlene Kennedy (Universal Dance Designs), and Dianne Walker for his training as a young dancer. As a member of JTE, he created the solo, “Drum” (disc 2), performed in the full range of JTE repertory, and in 1994 won the Princess Grace Award for Emerging Artists. After his long engagement with Savion Glover’s “Noise/Funk” on B’way, Derick led the first national tour, and later created his own original show “Imagine Tap” which premiered in Chicago. Jazz Tap Ensemble was proud to include Derick again for the 2007 American TAP Masterpieces tour in which he rejoined his “Taxi” partner Sam Weber (disc2) for more amazing improvisations.
MARK MENDONCA made his professional debut as a tap dancer with JTE in 1989 on a special benefit concert with Gregory Hines. Later, Gregory featured Mark’s trio “Steps Ahead” on his television tribute to the Nicholas Brothers at the Kennedy Center. Mark toured with JTE throughout the US, France, and Spain, with special appearances at the Biennale in Lyon and on French national television. He rejoined the Ensemble for summer ‘95 season in Aspen and New York. He was the first tap dancer to be awarded the Princess Grace Emerging Artist Fellowship in 1989, and appears in original 1995 cast of “Interplay” (disc 3), and has improvising moments with Gregory Hines at the Jazz Bakery (disc 5).
HEATHER CORNELL joined JTE for the 1985 season creating a fresh Latin duo with Fred Strickler as well as her poignant solo, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Heather toured the US including Aspen Festival and performed in the KQED-TV special in San Francisco, JTE with Honi Coles.
SAM WEBER joined JTE in 1986 and performed with the Ensemble through 1998, with several return engagements all the way through 2008. He first created ‘Daahoud’ (excerpt Disc 1)in collaboration with Lynn Dally, and then proceeded to create over a dozen dazzling solos, each carefully crafted with the band, (including Bach Italian Concerto (disc 3) and in 1995, he continued his long collaboration with Musical Director Jerry Kalaf to create “Hands On.” (disc 2).
Sam Weber was a protege of tap master Stan Kahn in San Francisco, and studied in NY at the Juilliard School. He came to the Ensemble with a long history of performance in ballet, theater, and television.
During his tenure, he developed a new technique for tap dancing and grew to immense popularity as a teacher and performer throughout Europe and the U.S. Sam performed with the luminaries including Honi Coles, Gregory Hines, Steve Condos, Jimmy Slyde, Bunny Briggs, and the Nicholas Brothers.
Sam was the first tap dancer to receive the coveted NY Performance Award, the “Bessie” in 1994 for excellence in performance during one of his many seasons with JTE at the Joyce.
LINDA SOHL-ELLISON joined JTE in 1984 for the Ensemble’s first State Dept tour of Southeast Asia. Opening at the Imelda Marcos Folk Arts Theater in Manila, 80’ proscenium and mahogany stage floor, the tour went to five countries, ten cities including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and Surabaya. Linda also performed with JTE at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
LYNN DALLY co-founded Jazz Tap Ensemble in 1979 with Fred Strickler and Camden Richman. She is recognized for her role in the renaissance of tap dance in America. As dancer and choreographer, she has created a large body of original choreographies for the concert stage (disc 1) and performed in worldwide touring with the JTE. She has been honored to appear with tap legends Honi Coles, the Nicholas Brothers, Steve Condos, Brenda Bufalino, Sarah Petronio, Eddie Brown, Dianne Walker, Jimmy Slyde and Gregory Hines in venues from Carnegie Hall to the Apollo. As Artistic Director of the Jazz Tap Ensemble since 1986, she has continued to innovate in the field of rhythm tap with live jazz music, honoring the legends while mentoring gifted young artists. Favorite performances include Gregory Hines’ Evening of Tap at Carnegie Hall, Maison de la Danse Biennale “An American Story,” every JTE season at NY’s Joyce Theater, Salzburg Jazz Fest, Paris’ Theatre de la Ville, Hong Kong’s Municipal Theatre, Madrid’s Festival en Danza, the Smithsonian with Honi Coles, the Jazz Bakery in L.A.
Dally has received multiple choreographic grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as California Arts Council and Irvine Fellowships in Dance. Dally is the first tap dancer to be awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography, with which she created Solea, a cross cultural rhythmic exploration for tap, flamenco, modern, and bharata natyam dancers. (disc 5) She performed in “Tap Divas” with Brenda Bufalino (disc 3) and Sarah Petronio at Tony Waag’s NY Tap City Festival, and received an ATDF “Hoofer Award” for Choreography. In 2008, she hosted the first national conference of female tap dance artists, scholars, writers, and documentary filmmakers at UCLA, “Women in Tap.” This led to the production of her first tap documentary, Gotta Move: Women In Tap which screened at Lincoln Centerand is now available on DVD (www.womenintap.com).
In April 2012, Dally and the Jazz Tap Ensemble were selected by the US Department of State to represent the United States in a month-long cultural exchange, Dance MotionUSASM, in the African countries of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of Congo where JTE engaged with professional dance artists, youth ensembles, and at-risk youth populations in workshops, master classes, concerts and lively informal sessions. The Ensemble was both honored and privileged to be afforded this life changing experience. (disc 2)
Dally’s several commissions include Ruby, My Dear for Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet, Tribute to Fred Astaire for the Getty Museum, Dancin’ the Blues for City of Los Angeles, Bahia Dreams for Joyce Theater Foundation. Dally holds degrees from the Ohio State University and Smith College and was Adjunct Professor at UCLA in World Arts & Cultures/Dance and TFT’s Musical Theatre Program 2000-2012. She mentored in Margaret Jenkins’ CHIME/LA program 2011. Dally is featured in the new book, “TAP DANCING AMERICA: a Cultural History,” by Constance Valis Hill, and in the documentary, “Thinking on Their Feet: Women of the Tap Renaissance,” by Jenae Cutcher. Currently, Dally is celebrating JTE’s choreographic legacy in her new five disc series, JAZZ TAP ORIGINALS, available at www.jazztapensemble.org