The Vancouver Tap Dance Society performs on November 14 as part of our Discover Dance! series. We caught up with Artistic Director Andrew Nemr for a quick Q&A about his history with dance and what he loves most about tap.
How did you get involved with tap dance?
I started tap dancing at three and a half years old, at Chris Collins’ Dance Studio. It was a social activity on account of me being an only child. Neither of my parents are dancers, and there isn’t any family history of dance. At first, I enjoyed having something to be good at. Then, a few years later, I fell in love with tap dancing while watching the movie TAP (starring Sammy Davis, Jr., Gregory Hines, and Savion Glover). It’s been a long-term relationship ever since 🙂
What do you like most about tap?
That’s a hard question to answer – there are so many things! If I had to choose, I think it would be the fact that tap dancing has space for every emotion – joy, pain, happiness, sorrow, melancholy, and more. However you feel, you can dance it out in tap dancing. It can hold space for a huge breadth of expressions, too, and that’s a beautiful thing.
What is your proudest moment to date?
These questions aren’t getting easier! I’ve had a blessed career, dancing with Savion Glover and Gregory Hines; performing with Les Paul, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, and the Duke Ellington Orchestra; and running my own tap dance company for 10 years in New York City. Of all the things, I think my proudest moment was seeing my company members grow over the years. Their dedication to the work, and each other, was beautiful to witness.
If you didn’t have a career in dance, what might you be doing?
I think I’d be involved in some field that has to do with caring for people. That could be in organizational change, coaching, or counseling. I could also see myself being a monk – I’m really interested in the simple life.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
While I enjoy the stage, and being around people, I’m actually quite introverted and used to be considered a shy kid. I can also wiggle my ears.
What is your next project?
I’m really excited to be premiering new choreography at the Discover Dance series! We’re preparing for VanTap’s Choreographer’s Showcase in the spring, so this will be a kind of sneak peek of some of the things we plan on doing there. I also have a few projects in the works (a solo show, a documentary film, and a book) that are keeping me busy.
Discover Dance! Vancouver Tap Dance Society
Thursday November 14, 12 noon + 6.30pm
Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie Street, Vancouver