“Ms. Dorrance, a brilliant conductor, pushes the boundaries of tap while exposing its true nature: that it is music.”
“As Ms. Reagon’s music envelops the dancing, the dancing seeps through to the last chord and sometimes even beyond it.”
“And the huge outdoor audience went wild.”
“Dorrance, of course, is a marvel of intricate footwork, performed with almost goofy ease and good humor.”
“Dorrance is a marvel. The most riveting moment of the evening was the beginning of her solo ‘Sissy Strut.’ Danced in total darkness, one could hear the music in her feet, complicated rhythms at blistering speed infused with a remarkable range of tonal color, from delicate fill to thundering smackdowns. She’s the whole package.
Dorrance and Grant … danced a lovely, elegant soft shoe, their playful rhythmic conversation like whispered endearments.”
“It’s in the nature of tap shows that the performers do their own inspired thing, but Dorrance has the unusual gift of being able to encompass diverse talents without submerging them in uniformity.”
“Dorrance’s ethos as a tap dancer: She pays homage to tradition yet does things differently, and she does everything very, very well.”
“an odd, seemingly impossible marriage of tap and modern dance that came off edgy, seductive and smart.”
“Michelle Dorrance has already proven herself to be one of the most imaginative tap choreographers working today.”
“Michelle Dorrance is not only a dynamo in tap shoes but a compelling, imaginative choreographer as well. She and her company… performed… works that stretch the boundaries of tap.”
“‘Remembering Jimmy’ pays homage to a tap master in both adoring and unaffected terms. It’s hypnotic; the stage is alive with slippery footsteps as dancers — dressed in white and wearing socks — slide from side to side like a flock of ghostly speed skaters.
Smack in the center is Ms. Dorrance, the light within: her sunny charisma and lanky body work in mesmerizing combination as she glides across the floor or hits it with fury. (Her coordination and speed are incredible.)”
“Tap dancer/choreographer Michelle Dorrance can improvise and kick it old school with the best of them. But as she and her spirited New York-based company showed… the Bessie Award-winner has made her most groundbreaking contribution to the evolution of tap through tight, polished choreographic numbers that put the genre to the service of theatrical context.
Drawing inspiration from music ranging from the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Fiona Apple to The Bluegrass Reunion and Big Maybelle, she crafts dances with personality, precision and charming touches of clever, sometimes daffy humor. She and her dancers… don’t just show off prodigious technical feats, they become a community of characters who hint at engaging narratives. I think the only time I stopped smiling was in line for the ladies’ room at intermission.”
“What was surprising was the incredible performance by New Yorker Michelle Dorrance. In “Two to One,” Dorrance and barefoot guest Mishay Petronelli, both wrapped in black tulle from chest to upper thigh, did side-by-side steps that demonstrated how the shoe itself reflexively changes the quality and effect of the movement. In a second section, Dorrance grooved with the musicians, her bare legs flashing and feet flying across the stage like fingers on a piano. But just as I thought she was kicking her way offstage, Dorrance grabbed a microphone. In rock-star fashion, with her long hair whipping around her red-lipsticked face and her feet tearing up the stage at the mercy of powerful long legs, she punctuated her rhythms with vocals. Backed by overlapping jazz beats in full tilt, she sang in a voice like Fiona Apple’s, but more raw: “How come I end up where I started?”
I, for one, did not end up where I started. By the end of Dorrance’s piece, I saw tap as more relevant, transcendent, and compatible than I ever had before.”
“Dorrance, too, is one of tap’s luminaries (with deft footwork and natural comedic gifts, she was a perfect complement to Sumbry-Edwards in Jason Samuels-Smith’s Charlie’s Angels). Her Remembering Jimmy begins in the dark, the sanctuary rumbling with syncopated footfall, a muted drum. Lights fade up: blue glow. We’re at the edge of a clearing witnessing a white-clad tribe in stockinged feet enact a slip-slide-stamp ritual in the far beyond. They could be shades or angels; their repeated stepping seems metered by breath and makes the sanctuary softly boom. Cross currents of movement and counter-rhythms interrupt the pulse; a group splits off and orbits the flock. Dorrance scuttles in a stork-legged scoot, forms a tight trio right before us, seems to vanish, then reappears, spotlit, on the horizon. She’s in tap shoes now. Her percussive oration builds to a roar—her body opening out in double-winged Xs, and ends with a fanfare that elicits cheers.
Dorrance has an eye for spectacle and she’s not afraid to build emotional heat. Her movement choir shows an early modern dance sensibility: while honoring Jimmy, she evokes Doris and Martha. (Think The Shakers; think Primitive Mysteries.) But slides, as Slyde himself used to say, can never be regimented by counts. Though performed en masse in Remembering Jimmy, each slide we see is unique—and a little dangerous, too. If Dorrance’s communicants share a credo, then, it’s not Shaker-like penitence. It’s risk.”