Brian Seibert: What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing

With Performer Sarah Reich and saxophonist Danny Janklow
In Conversation With Sasha Anawalt
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Episode Summary

Brian Seibert, a dance critic for The New York Times, offers an authoritative account of the great American art of tap dancing in his new book, What the Eye Hears. Seibert’s entertaining history illuminates tap’s complex origins—from the jig and clog influences brought from Africa by slaves, to its growth as a cousin to jazz in the vaudeville circuits, to its ubiquity on Broadway and in Hollywood, and finally its post-World War II decline and more recent reinvention. Seibert, born and raised in Los Angeles, will take the ALOUD stage to discuss tap’s influence on American culture, including the legacy of L.A.’s thriving tap scene. With archival film footage and special performances by the young L.A. choreographer Sarah Reich, acclaimed as one of the new leaders in tap, this program will be sure to move you.

Participant(s) Bio

Brian Seibert is a dance critic for The New York Times and a contributor to The New Yorker. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter. This is his first book.

Sarah Reich (Performer, Choreographer, Instructor) has emerged as one of the new leaders in the Art Form of Tap Dance. At the young age of 15, this Los Angeles native was featured in Dance Spirit Magazine’s article, "20 Hot Tappers Under 20," and was named one of the "25 To Watch" in the 2009 Dance Magazine article. Ever since, Sarah has been sought after to perform, choreograph, and teach in over fifteen countries outside of the United States, including France, Spain, China, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Honduras, Belgium, Canada, Sweden, Croatia, Taiwan, Italy, Mexico, and Australia. Sarah is currently touring with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. She recently premiered a full-length show with her own band, Tap Music Project, at The Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival. Sarah has had the honor to perform at prestigious venues such as The Hollywood Bowl, the Greek Theater with Mexican Pop Star, Cristian Castro, and the Kodak Theater with the great Herbie Hancock.

Saxophonist & composer Danny Janklow was recognized while still in high school by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra as the first-ever triple instrument “Outstanding Soloist” on tenor saxophone, flute, and clarinet. He has performed and/or recorded with the likes of Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Benny Golson, Wallace Roney, Wycliffe Gordon, Karryn Allison, Eric Reed, John Beasley, Ben Williams, Jason Moran, Savion Glover, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Monk’estra, Bill Holman Big Band, Gordon Goodwin, Barbara Morrison and Jimmy Heath.

Sasha Anawalt is the director of USC Annenberg Arts Journalism Programs, including the Master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) program. She also directs the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program and the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater. In October 2009, she co-directed and co-produced with Douglas McLennan the first-ever National Summit on Arts Journalism. Anawalt wrote the best-selling cultural biography The Joffrey Ballet: Robert Joffrey and the Making of an American Dance Company. She was chief dance critic for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, LA Weekly, and on KCRW, 89.9 FM. Her reviews and features have been published widely.