What looked like an ordinary group of men doing construction on the stage of the Eisenhower Auditorium quickly morphed into an energetic tap dance performance.
The six men of “Tap Dogs” shuffled their way across the stage last night and created rhythms with just the taps on their shoes. Each had solo moments but most of the sound came from the group dancing in unison.
On scaffolding, ladders and even sometimes upside down, the performers entertained and impressed the audience with their athletic ability and skill.
The group used barely any dialogue and told the story of their workday through their movements, which included physical gags such as one dancer pretending to step on another’s hand while he was dancing.
The performers used many props aside from their feet to enhance the performance. In one routine, the group passed basketballs amongst each other while dribbling the balls to keep the beat going behind their tapping. At another point, four of the dancers wore rainboots and tapped their feet on a panel filled with water, splashing those in the front row.
Some audience members traveled great distances to come to the performance. Attendee Claire Paquin came from Bethesda, Maryland to see the production, which she had heard good reviews about.
Penn State alumnus Paquin said she travels often to come see performances in State College, but she thought this performance in particular would be different.
She said she usually sees comedies such as “Young Frankenstein” and “Spamalot,” but came for the “entertainment value” in “Tap Dogs.”
“It’s something different than a typical Broadway show,” she said.
She said she thought the show looked like a lot of fun and was looking forward to the high energy and the music.
Rock and roll sounds such as heavy drumming supported the dancer’s movements, and at one point the performers danced on plates that sounded similar to drums, which allowed them to create their own background music.
To Truong Chau, the performance sounded like it resembled “Stomp,” which, instead of tap shoes, incorporates cast members banging on objects such as trashcans to create rhythms.
Chau (graduate- agricultural economics) said he has experience in tap dance and was looking forward to the performance and the dancers’ techniques.
“I’d really like to see some technical tap dancing that turns into musical magic,” he said. “I wanted my spirits to be lifted before finals.”
Connie DiNunzio, coordinator of groups for OLLI Penn State, said she had seen a production similar to “Tap Dogs” and knew this performance would be fun. She said she hoped to be entertained and have fun with the performance.
She and her husband said they were looking forward to seeing the skill the dancers have, adding the show is “not something you see every day.”
After 90 minutes of tapping, the group completed an encore and ended the performance with a “Let’s go Penn State!”