In this episode we connected with our first-ever tap dancer – and one of the very best in the field – Jason Samuels Smith. (See also Divine Rhythm Productions!) As a special bonus, we were also joined by filmmaker Simone Maurice whose documentary about Jason, “Lost In The Shuffle,” just premiered at the Dance on Camera Festival (on Facebook here). With Jason, we discussed what it takes to become an extraordinary tap dancer and how tap tends to be perceived and represented. From there, we delved “deeper than art” and learned about the many early contributors to, and even inventors of, the dance form who have been little recognized or marginalized over the years. With Simone and Jason both, we learned about the misinformation surrounding the roots of tap dance and, in the end, put out a call to YOU, our listeners: write the real story! No secondary sources allowed.
Jason Samuels Smith is an established leader for Tap with accolades as Choreographer, Performer and Humanitarian. He received an Emmy, a Dance Magazine Award, and American Choreography Award as well as various grants and residencies supporting the development of new work. His choreography and film credits include Black Nativity; Hit Series Psych; CBS’s Secret Talents of the Stars (MYA); So You Think You Can Dance; Dancing with The Stars; and many more. Stage Credits include Soul Possessed; Broadway’s Bring in Da’Noise, Bring in Da’Funk; and Imagine Tap! He continues to tour worldwide both as a soloist and with his company and various projects. Jason also supports organizations including Dancers Responding to Aids, Tied to Greatness, Career Transitions for Dancers, Tap Into A Cure, Groove with Me, and Move The World among others. He aims to promote respect for tap dance and continue to create opportunities for upcoming generations as he travels the world as an ambassador for tap.