On February 6, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra premieres the new version for orchestra of Rob Kapilow's Paddywak: A Tap Dance Concerto, featuring soloist Ayodele Casel. The expanded orchestration was commissioned by Toronto and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.
Kapilow says, "Writing a tap dance concerto has proved to be utterly unlike any other project I have ever worked on, and creating a solo part for a tap dancer rather than a violinist or a pianist has involved a more extensive and different kind of collaboration than I had ever imagined. Discovering the extraordinary variety of ways a tap dancer can combine with instrumentalists rhythmically, texturally, motivically, and even narratively has been a fascinating process. Discovering what my music and Ayodele's tapping can say together that [each] could not say on [its] own has given me wonderful new insights into the fundamental meaning of what 'concerto' to act 'in concert' is all about."
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Tap dancers don't get approached much in regards to working outside of the tap community so it is to be commended that Rob wanted to use Tap dancing as a vehicle rather than the more popular Ballet or Modern dance. I teach a lot of young kids and one of the tools that I use is "This Old Man," because it is a song that they know and recognize. When they see how music and tap dance relate, it immediately hooks them in and gets them excited about trying to tap dance the melody. From this idea, Rob has created a wonderfully complex musical masterpiece...Hopefully the children will leave begging their parents for tap shoes!
— Ayodele Casel