NC Youth Tap Ensemble

NC Youth Tap Ensemble (Image 1)

As Lane Alexander, Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project said, “North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble is one of the best percussive dance ensembles in the world – period. They dance with ferocity, technical virtuosity and maturity beyond their years which is a testament to the visionary leadership of Gene Medler.”

In 1983, Gene Medler had a dream. He wanted to help keep alive the American art form of tap dance by offering local young dancers the opportunity to train and perform at a high level. More than 30 years later, the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE) has far surpassed Gene’s original hopes.

Triangle audiences have the opportunity to see NCYTE this weekend—Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 4 at 1 p.m.—at The Carolina Theatre of Durham, 309 W. Morgan Street in downtown Durham, in “Listen In.”

Accompanied by a jazz trio, the dancers will perform a wide range of styles, highlighting top choreographers including the legendary Savion Glover. NY-based dancer and NCYTE alumnus Jason Janas is a special guest performer at both shows. He will be joined at the Sunday matinee by award-winning dancer and choreographer Michelle Dorrance who is also an NCYTE alumna. Tickets are available online and at the Carolina Theatre box office. For more info go to or call 919-260-7585.

Throughout the years, the ensemble’s 38 dancers, who range from 8 to 18, have performed in countries around the world, ranging from China to Germany. In the last 18 months, they have performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Symphony Space in New York City, among many other venues.

Each year, the ensemble’s graduating high school seniors serve as the producers of the end-of-season show at The Carolina Theatre of Durham. The seniors dancing on the show are: Luke Hickey (Carrboro High School – 10 years in the ensemble); Kyle McConaughey (Carolina Friends School – six years in the ensemble); Breanna Polascik (Durham Academy – eight years in the ensemble); and Julianne Vance (Jordan High School – eight years in the ensemble.) Senior Adriana Ogle is unable to be there. Kyle, Breanna and Luke all performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC in December 2012. These dancers have performed throughout the country and Luke and Breanna have performed internationally.

Founder and artistic director Gene Medler will also appear on the show. For his many contributions to dance and his achievements as a dance artist, Gene received the 2003 North Carolina Dance Alliance Annual Award and the 2010 JUBA Award from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. This August, he will receive the “Tap Grace” award from the Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival.

Triangle audiences have the opportunity to see a hard-hitting, wide-ranging performance of high-quality percussive dance this weekend. This is not a tap recital! These dancers have appeared on stages – including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC – with some of the best professional dancers in the world. The show will feature a wide variety of percussive styles choreographed by the biggest names in dance including – Savion Glover, Michelle Dorrance (who has won many awards her choreography and creative risk-taking including The Alpert Award in the Arts, the Jacob’s Pillow Dance award, and The Princess Grace award) and Nicholas Young. This weekend, NCYTE is presenting the local premiere of Nicholas’ piece, “Trash Talk” which is clearly inspired by the nine years he spent with the touring and off-Broadway versions of STOMP.

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