An evening with Savion Glover

So, Aden, LB, Luther, and I went to Dook to see Savion Glover tap dance tonight. Perhaps you’re familiar with Savion, the light-skinned brother with the dreads that can be found anywhere a tap dancer is needed (he is the only person I can name that pays his bills with the art) and starred in the brilliant Bamboozled. Maybe you’ve seen his infusion of hip hop into tap dancing and thought that going to see him would be a good idea.
I’ll just say this…good thing I didn’t pay to see him.

See, this wasn’t hip hop Savion that I saw. It was “Classical Savion.” Well, that’s what it said on the program. Wasn’t a lick of hip hop in what he did. It was him providing the percussion while an orchestra played behind him.
Luther fell asleep. Aden and I sent off text messages the whole time, itching for the moment to come where we had to leave and go to our intramural basketball game.
I can’t believe I wasted two sprays of Issey Miyake for that shit, man.
Perhaps my issue is that I’m not a fan of seeing something so decidedly diasporic turned into another chance to show that we can do what white folks do, also. All the energy that I know Savion for, all the flavor, and all the entertainment value was sapped dry from his routine. It was just utterly dry.
This is not to say that the cat ain’t talented. But the whole time I was there, I was wondering, “where’s the bass player?” Perhaps this is an indicator of my lack of culture, but that’s just me. They could have gotten rid of the cello player, called Bootsy Collins, and had a helluva show. Instead, we just saw him sweatin’ like a hooker in church while performing something that didn’t enrich or entertain me a bit.
Call me what you want, but I’m not too keen on becoming “cultured.” I’d rather be entertained. And since there is no social message or intellectual discourse coming from watching him do his impression of a low-budget Orkin man squashing bugs, I need to be entertained. I need something to keep me and Luther awake. Luther even stayed awake during Soul Plane, and that was the worst movie of the year not called Catwomoan.
But really, I just found this to be an unnecessarily bougie event that featured a cat whose real claim to fame is bringing tap dancing back to a gritty sort of level. Maybe the worst thing to happen to him was to get famous. Without fame, he wouldn’t be at Dook doing Dook things.
No, this being held at Dook didn’t help anything.
But who’s seen Savion live? Did he do the classical show? If he did, did you find it to be as wasteful of your time as I found it to be of mine? Help me out, cuz I’m just not that refined. In the words of Adam Duritz, “I’m just another boy from Texas.”

7 thoughts on “An evening with Savion Glover”

  1. Tap dancing just hasn’t been cool in a long time, Gregory Hines notwithstanding. Trying to mix tap dancing and hip hop is an interesting concept, I guess, but so was Pat Boone doing a heavy metal album (yes it really happened). Just the same, “interesting” and “entertaining” are very different things. Now maybe if we could get Jay-Z or Dre to do a mash up album with that Riverdance guy, that would be worth checking out for the sheer circus freak quality of it.

  2. Bomani, I know you’re really young. However, I’m surprised that you don’t know that tap dancing in all it’s forms is a true Black American art form. Just like rock n’ roll, tap dancing is another art form that we now commonly think of as ‘white’. I guess ‘whitey’ has been more succesful than I thought when an educated young brother such as yourself dismisses one of the few original American art forms. That being said, everything ain’t for everybody, and I’m glad that you and your friends did go to the show. You’ve been exposed to classical tap performed by the leading tap dancer in the world. This is an experience that many won’t have, for better or worse.
    Bomani’s note – I said that tap wasn’t a black artform? And me not liking something qualifies as a dismissal? Chitterlings are fairly negroid, and I don’t like them, either, whether served with collards or cauliflower. I said that tap dancing over classical music is uninteresting to me, but I’m very aware that tap dancing is black; YT ain’t that strong. And, depending on who you talk to, it’s a little too black. However, the top dancer in the world put on a dry show. And if he’s the best we’ve got, I’d rather see James Brown camel walk with Maceo on the horn than seeing any tap dancer shufflin’ with the ghost of Beethoven.

  3. As a former classical cellist I’m not sure where to start with this. Well first I have seen Savion perform and thought it was amazing. It was not with a classical orchestra it was with his own group but he didn’t have any hip hop infused into the show either. It was just tap with a mix of jazz occassionally. I will be the first to admit (from the experience of seeing my friends come to my shows) that classical music sure ain’t for everyone. But I also have a problem when someone like Savion is involved in it for it to be classified as “another chance to show that we can do what white folks do, also.” Music is an art regardless of who usually plays it and I think that instead of thinking of it as pleasing white people we should look at it as adding our own to the genre. Isn’t that what other black people are doing when they play music that isn’t traditionally black? Or should we just stick to hip hop and jazz and not bother with that white music? And if we can’t bear to watch or even appreciate a performace without a beat or without bootsy collins then why should Savion even bother with our closeminded asses? I used to be part of the only black chamber music group in my area (and probably way beyond my area) and my community embraced me. And I sure wasn’t trying to do what white folks were doing – I was just being a musician.
    Bomani’s note – OUR closed minded asses? Or just MY closed minded ass? ANYTHING, from Brahm to James Brown, would be better with Bootsy on the bass.

  4. I don’t see why not liking something equates to being closed minded anyway. It’s not like he said “Push Glover off a motherf****g bridge”, he just said the show wasn’t that great.
    But, if y’all could do me a favor and put together a list of the stuff I’m supposed to like, I need to get started early on rebuilding my CD collection.

  5. Classical Mucic and Tap Dancing! Does that even sound like a good idea? Bo, you know how cool I think Sammie Davis Jr. is, so this aint a knock on tap dancers. Furthermore, I paid money to see Phantom of the Opera at the movies so I’m far from what some readers may call ignorant or close minded. But opera and tap dancing, What were you thinking Savion? It’s like a stripper at Magic City grinding that ass to Garth Brooks.
    You never saw Sammy doing footwork with Liberace, so why would Savion think he could pull it off with artists that in additon to being from a different genre are hundreds of years removed form being his contemporaries. He could have at least gotten the hip hop violinist.
    Hell black is black and horrible is horrible. The concepts are not mutually exclusive and if you don’t believe me take a look at the career of one Mr. Kordell Stewart

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