Critic Eviscerates Famous Tap Dancer

This article is from the archive of our partner .

The New York Times' Alastair MacCaulay is not pleased with tap-dancing sensation Savion Glover. He admits Glover is "famous," he admits he is "hailed as the greatest tap dancer who has ever lived," he admits that he has revitalized the dance form. "But," writes MacCaulay, "it is hard to think of a celebrated dancer performing today who is more tedious, more devoid of stage sense, more undancerly and more lacking in musicianship."

And that's just the first paragraph of the review. MacCaulay proceeds to lay into Glover for overly fast and emotionally empty tapping--"astonishingly rapid-fire meters that nonetheless lack rhythm or melody or any serious play of dynamic contrasts." He says Glover reminded him of "how, in opera, coloratura singing can be musically exhilarating and expressive but can also be mindlessly dull."

The technique isn't even all that good, he protests, despite the speed. "He takes one rhythmic figure, repeats it too many times, then starts again with another. Often he accelerates or decelerates, but without skill in phrasing." In addition, "in visual terms he is a washout ... It isn't just that from the ankle up he does so little. It’s that from the ankle up he’s an ungainly bore, without physical grace or line or intensity."

Finally, MacCaulay questions the tastefulness of the "cheap sexiness" the female dancers toss at the audience, calling the subsequent "voyeuristic excitement" of the male dancers "gruesome." With that, he concludes his review, noting that the audience "applauded in hope of a curtain-call or two," but was ignored.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.