With its founder, Michelle Dorrance, called “one of the most imaginative tap choreographers working today,” award-winning tap company Dorrance Dance is set to perform at Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville for two nights on Thursday & Friday, Nov. 15-16 at 8 p.m.

Founded in 2011 in New York City by a MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient, Dorrance Dance’s work aims to honor tap dance’s uniquely beautiful history in a new, dynamic and compelling context. Its namesake and choreographer is determined to push the art form to new levels rhythmically, technically and conceptually, while, at the same time, keeping it true to its traditional roots. The company’s inaugural performance garnered a Bessie Award for “blasting open our notions of tap” and the company continues its passionate commitment to expanding the audience of tap dance, America’s original art form.

On the Diana Wortham Stage, Dorrance Dance will perform three pieces from its repertoire: Myelination, Jungle Blues and Three to One. Myelination is an expansion of a piece by the same name that originally premiered at New York City Center’s 2015 Fall for Dance Festival. The work, in which each dancer is both an ensemble member and an improvisational soloist, challenges the performers to take risks and achieve new heights of technical and musical execution inside of the form of tap dance. In addition, the rarely seen, Bessie Award-winning Three to One and the whimsical Jungle Blues complete this program, illustrating the great range that this company is known for.

In a review of Jungle Blues from The Boston Globe, writer Karen Campbell wrote that the performance “unleased undulating torsos, rolling hips and shimmying shoulders. Knees and feet swiveled side to side like well-oiled levers, and dancers slid across the floor and balanced on toes.”

Mentored by Gene Medler, Michelle Dorrance grew up performing with the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble and has since appeared with STOMP, Savion Glover’s ti dii, Manhattan Tap, Barbara Duffy & Co, JazzTap Ensemble, Rumba Tap, Ayodele Casel’s Diary of a Tap Dancer, Mable Lee’s Dancing Ladies, Harold Cromer’s original Opus One, Derick Grant’s Imagine Tap and Jason Samuels Smith’s Charlie’s Angels/Chasing the Bird.

Her choreography has been featured around the world. In 2015, Dorrance Dance with Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely won a Bessie Award for their show The Blues Project. The company’s inaugural performance garnered a 2011 Bessie Award for “blasting open our notions of tap.” Most recently, Dorrance was honored by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with a 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award.

Tap in: Ticket holders are invited to stay after the performances for an intimate discussion with tap mastermind, Michelle Dorrance.

Matinee Series for Students and Families: Dorrance Dance presents a special daytime show for students, Friday, Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. This performance is open to homeschoolers, school groups, community groups, and families. Recommended for Grades 4-12. For tickets, please call the box office at 828-257-4530 or email boxoffice@dwtheatre.com.

To obtain more information on the Mainstage Series or to purchase tickets for the Nov. 15-16 performances of Dorrance Dance (Regular $48; Student $43; Child $20; Student Rush, day-of-the-show with valid I.D. $10), call the theatre’s box office at 257-4530 or visit www.dwtheatre.com.

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