Lexington native Ryan P. Casey makes audiences look way, way up: at 6' 9", this fresh-faced 21-year-old senior at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study has already appeared on So You Think You Can Dance, and performed with tap innovator Michelle Dorrance. Transitions is Casey's first full-length show, combining poetry, vaudeville, and tap works set to an eclectic mix including Dave Brubeck, Randy Newman, and the theme song to The Office. He also doffs a top hat to Fred Astaire's "Shadow Dance" from Swing Time.
"I grew up with rhythm," Casey says. "When I was 11, my teacher Thelma Goldberg introduced me to Billy Siegenfeld's jump-rhythm technique. It was less count- or step-oriented; the rhythm tells you what the steps are. You are scatting like a jazz singer. I had a blast. It's still the cornerstone of how I dance and teach."
Taking tap into the realm of the autobiographical, Casey's tap-and-poetry mashups My Manhattan and The Tall & Short of It address overcoming his self-consciousness about his height and discovering his true talents. "If you don't want to put on some tap shoes after a tap show," he warns, "I've done something wrong."
Lorraine Chapman is making her own transition, revisiting her past works in two special weekend retrospectives that celebrate the 10th anniversary of Lorraine Chapman the Company (LCTC). Reviewing DVDs and editing the works, changing the size and personnel of her casts, and seeing the works in new circumstances has given them, she feels, a refreshed perspective. "It's nice to have these dances alive again. In Boston, we don't [often] get to do that. We do a show and it's done, and we move on to the next one and hardly ever put together shows that have a real repertory feeling."
A former dancer with Eliot Feld Ballets/NY and Ballet British Columbia, Chapman is an eloquent performer. In addition to appearing in her own works with her ensemble, she'll perform several solos by others: Marcus Schulkind's 2003 Let Bygones Be, David Parker's Madame Sherry, and the premiere of a new solo by Diane Arvanites. In a savvy marketing offer, audiences can return for a second performance in this anniversary series at half price.
RYAN CASEY IN TRANSITIONS: AN EVENING OF TAP DANCE:: [Preview] November 3 @ 7:30 pm :: Munroe Center for the Arts, 1403 Mass Ave, Lexington :: Free :: [Full show] November 4 @ 4 pm + 7 pm :: Marblehead Little Theatre, 12 School St, Marblehead :: $25 :: ryanpcasey.com
LORRAINE CHAPMAN THE COMPANY :: Program A November 2-3; Program B November 4; Program C November 9-10; Program D November 11 :: $15-$25 :: Green Street Studios, 185 Green St, Cambridge› 617.864.3191 or lorrainechapman.org