Savion Glover
Savionglover.jpg
Glover in 2007
Born (1973-11-19) November 19, 1973 (age 48)
Occupation
  • Dancer
  • actor
  • choreographer
Years active1985–present
Websitesaviongloverproductions.com

Savion Glover (born November 19, 1973) is an American tap dancer, actor, and choreographer.

Early life

The youngest of three sons, Glover was born to a white father, who left the family before he was born, and a black mother. Glover's great grandfather on his mother's side, Dick Lundy, was a shortstop in the Negro leagues. He managed eleven Negro league baseball teams, including the Newark Eagles.[1] His grandfather, Bill Lewis, was a big band pianist and vocalist.[1] His grandmother, Anna Lundy Lewis, was the minister of music at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. She played for Whitney Houston when she was singing in the gospel choir, and was the one who first noticed Savion's musical talent. She once held him and hummed some rhythms to him, and he smiled and joined along.[2][3] Glover graduated from Newark Arts High School in 1991.[4]

Career

Glover stated that his style is "young and funk." When asked to describe what funk is, he says it is the bass line. "Funk is anything that gets one's head on beat. It is riding with the rhythm. It is a pulse that keeps one rolling with the beat."[5] Gregory Hines, a tap legend, was one of Glover's tap teachers. Hines stated that "Savion is possibly the best tap dancer that ever lived." Glover liked to start his pieces with some old school moves from famous tappers and then work his way into his own style. Hines said it is like paying homage to those he respects. When Honi Coles died, Savion performed at his memorial service. He finished his dance with a famous Coles move, a backflip into a split from standing position, then getting up without using one's hands. Glover rarely does this move because it wasn't his style, but he did it because it was Coles' style that he wanted to keep alive. "I feel like it's one of my responsibilities to keep the style."[6] Henry LeTang called Glover "the Sponge" because he learned very quickly with everything thrown at him. LeTang taught the Hines brothers back in the 1950s and taught Glover for a little while before having him work for "Black and Blue," a tap revue in Paris in 1987. Many legendary tappers taught Glover such as LeTang, the Hines brothers, Jimmy Slyde, Dianne Walker, Chuck Green, Lon Chaney (Isaiah Chaneyfield), Honi Coles, Sammy Davis Jr., Buster Brown, Howard Sims, and Arthur Duncan.[1]

Teaching

He has been teaching tap since he was 14 years old. Glover created Real Tap Skills, and started HooFeRz Club School for Tap in Newark, New Jersey.[7] Wanting to bring back the real essence of [8] At age seven, Glover drummed in a group called Three Plus One. In the group, he demanded that he dance while he played the drum.[9] Glover has a heavy foot for tap. He dances hard and loud in every step, and teaches his students how to "hit," a term related to one's ability to express oneself, complete a tap sequence, or say something.[9]

Choreography

Notable choreographed pieces

Glover's signature, with shoe taps, in front of the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Glover's signature, with shoe taps, in front of the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.

When Glover choreographs a piece, he improvises as he generates a dance sequence.[11] As he finds rhythms, he listens for new sounds at many points on the stage. "I'm feelin' the stage for sounds. You might find a spot on it that gives you that bass; you might find a spot on the floor that gives you that dead type tom-tom sound." "I think what makes Savion an incredible artist is his extraordinary joy in what he does. He is able to live in that state of joy and not compromise his emotional complexity like the earlier tap dancers had to," says George C. Wolfe.[12]

Broadway

The Tap Dance Kid (1985)

This musical was based on the 1974 novel Nobody's Family is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh. Glover's Broadway debut, at the age of 11, was as a replacement with this show. The musical was choreographed by Danny Daniels, with direction by Vivian Matalon; the music was by Henry Krieger and lyrics by Robert Lorick.[13] Reviews of this show were mediocre. The New York Times claimed it was a traditional story to give children a dream to look forward to, but was not anything exceptional.[14] However, the musical went on to be nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.[13]

Black and Blue (1989)

Performed at the age of 15. For this performance, he became one of the youngest performers ever nominated for a Tony Award.[15]

Jelly's Last Jam (1992)

In Jelly's Last Jam (1992), the tap dancing was choreographed by Ted Levy and Gregory Hines, who starred as Jelly Roll Morton. Glover played the role of "Young Jelly",[7] and was nominated for the Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.[16]

Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk (1996)

Glover performed in this musical and also choreographed it. He was nominated for the Tony Award, Actor in a Musical for his roles as Lil' Dahlin' and 'da Beat and for Choreography.[1][17] "Mr. Glover meticulously and respectfully demonstrates the techniques made famous by each, then blends them all into an exultant stylistic brew that belongs to no one but him. As dance, as musical, as theater, as art, as history and entertainment, there's nothing Noise/Funk cannot and should not do." -The New York Times.[14]

Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed (2016)

Glover choreographed the musical Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, which opened in 2016 at the Music Box Theatre.[18] He has been nominated for a Tony Award for Best Choreography and a Drama Desk Award[19] for his work on the musical.[20]

Filmography

Film

Television

Episodic

TV specials

Awards presentations

Music videos

2001 - "Timeless: Live in Concert", Brother Time

Stage appearances

Tours

Albums

Publications

Books

Periodicals

Awards

References

  1. ^ a b c d Lahr, 270.
  2. ^ Lahr, 271.
  3. ^ Lahr, 270–272.
  4. ^ "Savion Glover", The HistoryMakers. Accessed August 14, 2018. "In 1991, Glover graduated from Newark’s Arts High School."
  5. ^ Lahr, 268.
  6. ^ Lahr, 229.
  7. ^ a b "Savion Glover", Filmbug.com
  8. ^ Lahr, 275.
  9. ^ a b Lahr, 273.
  10. ^ "Oxford University Press: Tap Dancing America: Constance Valis Hill". Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
  11. ^ Lahr, 268–274.
  12. ^ Lahr, 274.
  13. ^ a b "The Tap Dance Kid", Playbill. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Theater Reviews". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
  15. ^ Anna Kisselgoff, "Elegant Ghosts Haunt 'Black and Blue'", The New York Times, May 21, 1989.
  16. ^ "Jelly's Last Jam", Playbill. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  17. ^ "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk", Playbill, May 4, 2016.
  18. ^ Ali, Rahim. "Audra McDonald to Star in New Broadway Musical With Savion Glover", bet.com, March 13, 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  19. ^ Viagas, Robert (April 28, 2016). "'She Loves Me' Leads Drama Desk Nominations". Playbill.
  20. ^ "See Full List of 2016 Tony Award Nominations", Playbill, May 3, 2016.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Savion Glover Biography (1973-)", Film Reference.
  22. ^ Lahr, 271–275.
  23. ^ "The Talk - Sheryl Underwood Tap Dances with Famed Performer Savion Glover; Meets Idol Arthur Duncan". YouTube. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  24. ^ "Savion Glover's Foot Notes Starts Nat'l Tour, March 21, in Springfield", Playbill, March 13, 2000.
  25. ^ Cutie, Jena. "Savion Glover's Stepz hits some stormy weather", Chicagoreader.com, January 22, 2014
  26. ^ Lahr, 270–275.

Sources