Sunday, July 1, 2007

Tap Dogs

It’s one of Australia’s biggest international success stories -- Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs!

For Perry himself, the journey of Tap Dogs began some 14 years ago, when he started to develop some of his ideas for tap dancing “with a rock n roll edge to it”.

“We workshopped some ideas,” he says, “and we ended up with about 15 or 20 minutes worth of material.
“We videotaped it, and that led to us being asked to do a filler piece for the ABC, which we ended up calling Tap Dogs. From that, Sydney Theatre Company approached us, and asked if we’d be interested in developing it into a piece for Sydney Festival. So we did that – it was about a 55-minute piece at that stage – and it just went crazy. It sold incredibly well, and we had a lot of international producers come in and started working on the show to build it up to about 80 minutes. Then we went to the Edinburgh Festival, where we attracted more international interest – and before we knew it, we were in demand. We toured around the world, and then after about 3 years, we finally made it to New York. And we’ve been going ever since.”
The worldwide demand for the show proved so strong, Perry has had to “clone” his company; so that now there are four companies running the show – two in the US (one for the East Coast and one for the West), one in the UK and the original company in Australia.
Perry says the show has evolved over the years, but the core elements are still the same. “There are still six guys; we still have that real larrakin, hard-working ocker feel about it,” he says.

Of course, after some ten years on the road, a level of maturity has crept into the Tap Dogs. “Yeah, we’re all ‘mature’ guys now I guess,” Perry admits. “We worked out that there’s collectively something like 57 years of Tap Dogs experience on stage with this group.”
The flip side of that experience, of course, is keeping the performance fresh. That’s something that, according to Perry, comes rather organically. “If the audience is with us – and they usually are – the guys will just want to go out there and perform it,” he says.
Perhaps it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, in that it’s a loud and brash show, but it gives us great confidence knowing its gone on for so long a time and toured so far and wide.

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