The whirlwind tour of Tap Dogs blows through the Arsht Center with a dizzying celebration of blue-collar labor. Created and choreographed by Dein Perry, a former industrial machinist from Newcastle, the show evokes the small Australian steel town north of Sydney where the dancers grew up.
The inspiration for Tap Dogs came from a dance teacher's Newcastle garage, where Perry and other local boys the "Dogs" learned to tap. Perry broke for Sydney, landing bit chorus parts in Broadway-style musicals until he garnered a starring role in 42nd Street. When the run ended, he dreamed up an industrial musical starring the old tap Dogs, who were working "real" jobs by then.
Billed as the "Tap Brothers," the troupe hit London with Hot Shoe Shuffle, winning an Oliver Award in 1995. The show would lead to an offer from the Sydney Theatre Company to collaborate with eclectic designer and director Nigel Triffitt, who had directed and designed the Australian premiere of The New Rocky Horror Show. The collaboration led to Tap Dogs, which features Triffitt's clanking, hissing industrial set.
An instant hit in Sydney, Tap Dogs has been hailed an electrifying mash of dance, rock concert, and construction site. Dressed in metal-plated work boots, faded jeans, and flannel shirts, the nine dancers use iron rods and basketballs to tap on metal, on water, up and down ladders, upside down on the ceiling, by torchlight, and under a shower of sparks.
Sat., July 3, 8 p.m.; Tue., July 6, 7:30 p.m.; Wed., July 7, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., July 8, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., July 9, 7:30 p.m., 2010