Chicago Human Rhythm Project 

Tap dance is a tenacious art form, with roots in the brothels and loading docks of 19th-century America and branches today in such big-ticket Broadway productions as Jelly's Last Jam and Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk. But the visibility of the venue or the performer is far less significant than the fact that the form keeps resurfacing in young people who fall in love with it--and by necessity with its history. That's the impetus behind the "Legacy" concerts this weekend, part of the 11th annual Chicago Human Rhythm Project. Devoted to the proteges of three Chicago tap masters, these concerts feature Idella Reed and Rhythm I.S.S.--all women--who trained at the Sammy Dyer School of Theatre and Dance; so did Bril Barrett, performing as half of the new duo MADD Rhythms with Martin "Tre" Dumas, who attended Tommy Sutton's Mayfair Academy. And of course Jimmy Payne Jr. and Sara Payne, performing with their company Perfect Timing, are the progeny of Jimmy Payne Sr., who recently died. The following weekend, the "JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance" concerts feature these artists and more, both young and not so young: the inimitable Savion Glover (August 10 and 11 only); a youthful Stomp!-like group from Israel, Sheketak, that performs with its own band; the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble; Dianne "Lady Di" Walker; American Tap Dance Orchestra soloists Barbara Duffy, Tony Waag, and Margaret Morrison; Ted Levy; Sam Weber; and, from Chicago, Lane Alexander and Billy Siegenfeld's Jump Rhythm Jazz Project. A benefit gala, "Jubalee!," opens the festival with the presentation of an award to Gregory Hines and performances by Sheketak, Rhythm I.S.S., Perfect Timing, Alexander, and Richard Weinberg. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, 773-296-0869, ext. 15. Thursday, August 2, 7 PM. $150. "Legacy" concerts at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300. Through August 5: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 3 PM. $25. "JUBA!" concerts at Northwestern University, Josephine Louis Theatre, 1979 South Campus Dr., Evanston, 847-491-7282. Through August 12: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 4 PM. $25-$35. Note: The festival's concluding event is a performance of Morton Gould's Tap Dance Concerto by Alexander and the Chicago Sinfonietta September 9 at Dominican University and September 10 at Symphony Center. 312-236-3681. $25-$45.

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