The TAP DOGS Story
Dein Perry’s TAP DOGS continues to take the world by storm with their unprecedented tap show that combines the strength and power of workmen with the precision and talent of tap dancing. You can catch the production at The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts Thursday, April 11 – Sunday, April 14.
In the Beginning
TAP DOGS started with six guys from a steel town north of Sydney, Australia. Oliver Award-winning choreographer Dein Perry headed the team with designer/director Nigel Triffitt and composer Andrew Wilkie. Together, they reinvented tap dance for the new millennium.
Australian Dein Perry, creator and choreographer of Dein Perry’s TAP DOGS, has come a long way from the garage behind his dance teacher’s house in Newcastle, a steel town north of Sydney, where as young boys, he and the “Dogs” learned how to tap. At the age of 17, he earned his union papers as an industrial machinist before moving to Sydney, where he tried to break into show business. Small chorus parts in Broadway-style musicals led to Perry’s big break when he was cast in the long-running Sydney production of “42nd Street.” When it closed, Perry decided to create a contemporary show around the themes of his industrial experience with his Newcastle tap dancing mates.
With a small government grant, Perry contacted his old friends, who had also taken up various ‘real’ jobs by this time, and formed “Tap Brothers,” a very early incarnation of Dein Perry’s TAP DOGS. From this, Perry was offered the chance to choreograph the West End musical, “Hot Shoe Shuffle,” which brought the group to London and earned Perry his first Olivier Award in 1995. A subsequent offer from the Sydney Theatre Company led to a collaboration with eclectic designer and director Nigel Triffitt, which resulted in the creation of Dein Perry’s TAP DOGS.
An Award-Winning Production
TAP DOGS was the instant hit of the Sydney Theatre Festival where it had its world premiere performance in January 1995 and caused a similar sensation at the Edinburgh Festival later that year. The show went on to play to packed houses at Sadlers Wells in London, make return tours of Australia, run a West End engagement, for which Perry won a second consecutive Olivier Award in 1996, and launch the off Broadway New York season in 1997. So far, the company has won 11 international awards, including a Pegasus Award at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, an Obie award in New York and, most recently, the most Outstanding Performance in Commercial Dance or Musical Theatre at the Australian Dance Awards.
Touring the World
TAP DOGS has been touring the world with up to four companies at a time, reaching audiences throughout the far-reaching corners of Europe, Asia, America and Australia. The Australian dance sensation returned home in 2000 to take part in the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games. One thousand performers from companies around the globe danced in front of an audience of over three billion viewers as the event was televised across the world.
The Dein Perry’s TAP DOGS story has gone on to be immortalized in the movie “BOOTMEN,” directed by Dein Perry and inspired by his TAP DOGS experiences.