Guest Faculty

Michelle Dorrance

Michelle Dorrance is a tap dancer and choreographer breathing new life into a uniquely American art form in works that combine the musicality of tap with the choreographic intricacies of contemporary dance. Dorrance uses her deep understanding of the technique and history of tap dancing to deconstruct and reimagine its artistic possibilities.

Michelle Dorrance received a B.A. (2001) from the Gallatin School at New York University. A member of the faculty of the Broadway Dance Center since 2002, Dorrance has performed with preeminent tap companies and has taught and choreographed for institutions and groups across the United States and abroad. She toured with the Off-Broadway production of STOMP (2007–2011) before founding Dorrance Dance/New York. The troupe has performed Dorrance’s choreographic works at such venues as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Joyce Theatre, and Danspace Project, as well as at numerous festivals throughout North America and Europe.

Derick Grant

Derick K. Grant is a native of Boston, MA and an award-winning tap performer and choreographer. He began his training at the Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts and studied “hoofin” style from master tap dancer, Dianne Walker. He went on to train at Universal Dance Design Studio with Paul Kennedy and spent three years with the Jazz Tap Ensemble touring the world. He was given the Princess Grace Award for Upcoming Young Artist and The Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Featured Actor for his role in Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk. Recently returning from his three-month tour of A Night Out: Tap!, Grant’s newest choreography and performance with Jazz Tap Ensemble, held at the Joyce Theater, has been praised by the The New York Times stating, “Mr. Grant let gusts of rhythm propel him with remarkable velocity!”

Nicholas Van Young

Nicholas Van Young, Associate Director of Dorrance Dance (Co-Creator ETM: Double Down) is a dancer, musician, choreographer, and a 2014 Bessie Award recipient. He began his professional career at age 16 under Acia Gray and Deidre Strand with Tapestry Dance Company in Austin, TX, eventually rising to principal dancer and resident choreographer. Since moving to New York, he has performed with Manhattan Tap, RumbaTap, Dorrance Dance, Beat the Donkey and has toured as a drummer for Darwin Deez. Nicholas spent almost a decade performing with STOMP, where he performed the lead role and acted as rehearsal director. Nicholas tours both nationally and internationally teaching and performing at various Tap Festivals, and founded Sound Movement dance company and IFTRA, Institute for The Rhythmic Arts. He is thrilled to have found a home with Dorrance Dance, co-creating and developing ETM: Double Down, and the Guggenheim Rotunda Project, both collaborative efforts with Michelle Dorrance.

Elizabeth Burke

Elizabeth Burke is a Chapel Hill, North Carolina native and proud alumna of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble, with whom she spent eleven seasons. As an ensemble member, Burke served as a choreographer and performed extensively throughout the United States at venues such as the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Tap City: The New York City Tap Festival, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Southeastern Tap Explosion in Atlanta, GA, as well as in Finland, Canada, Mexico, and Germany, where she made her international debut as a soloist. She also had the opportunity to collaborate and choreograph with Jim Ketch and the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, and her work was presented at the University of North Carolina’s Memorial Hall and at the Durham Performing Arts Council.

Dianne Walker

Dianne Walker, jazz tap dancer known for her elegant and fluid style of dancing that is delicate yet rhythmically complex, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Walker received the Dance Magazine Award in 2012 for lifetime achievement in dance. Principal dancer in the Paris production of Black and Blue, as well as principal and assistant choreographer in the Broadway production; Walker is considered by many female tap dance artists as the transitional figure between the young generation of female dancers (such as Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Germaine Ingram, Ayodele Casel), and the "forgotten mothers of tap," such as Edith "Baby" Edwards, Jeni LeGon, Lois Miller, and Florence Covan.

Jason Janas

Jason Janas is originally from New Jersey. He began his tap dance instruction under Ms. Deborah Mitchell and was the first charter member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble. He then found a love for the dance and continued to learn and study the art form. He also trained and was a member of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble under the direction of Gene Medler.

Jason's first professional company after high school was Tapestry Dance Company in Austin TX, under the direction of Acia Gray. He was a principal dancer there for 5 years. His hard work ethic began to take notice and Derick Grant invited Jason to be in his show Imagine Tap! which ran for 6 weeks in Chicago, and changed his life. His other show credits include Souls of our Feet with Tapestry Dance Company, Wonderland with Sara Savelli and Ayodele Casel, and most recently co-choreographed and was featured in Tap Stars with Rasta Thomas. He currently teaches for Wild Dance Convention and West Coast Dance Explosion, and has taught at tap festivals in New Jersey, Chicago, New York, L.A., Charlotte, Austin, San Antonio, Vancouver, Zürich, Curitiba (Brazil), Moscow, and Barcelona!

Ballet School of Chapel Hill

1603 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill NC 27516

ncrtf@ncyte.org

©2023 North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble

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