Tap Dogs | Dance Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

If words like "testosterone," "sweat," and "macho" set your heart racing, then these six guys from Australia are probably just your cuppa. But what's next? "Flamenco Dogs"? "Lieder Dogs"? Dancing on a set of metal scaffolding and girders, its floor underlaid by 35 mikes to enhance every pounding sound, the Tap Dogs are reminiscent of the cast of Stomp. But since they are true tap dancers (unlike the all-around percussive wizards of Stomp, who sometimes sniff and cough to produce their music), the variety in the show comes primarily from the materials on which they dance--metal, wood, water, electronic pads keyed to drumbeats. It's ironic that such supposedly rough, raw, primal work should be so heavily produced, with state-of-the-art lighting and an original score performed by onstage percussionists and guitarists. And the group's gimmick--exploding the image of tap dancing as somehow polite, restrained, and upper-class--ain't so new either: the form had a rough birth among Irish-American and black stevedores on the docks of the New World. Still, swallowing a certain amount of hype and dazzle may be little to pay for an evening of high-energy males sweating their hearts out for us. The show opens Tuesday at 8 and continues through January 26: Wednesdays, Thursdays, and next Tuesday, January 21, at 7:30; Fridays at 8; Saturdays at 5 and 9; and Sundays at 2 and 6. At the Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe; $19-$42. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 312-977-1710 for group rates.

--Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Polly Borland.

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