Collaboration / Evening-Length Show / Events / FLOW / seattle

Working with Travis Knights

What a beautiful beginning to the year 2010.

I had the incredible honor of working with International tap dancer Travis Knights for almost two months between February and April. He was a very significant contributor to FLOW, to the show’s concept, to why it even came about in the first place, and certainly to the fact that it came to fruition as quickly as it did. This was a highly concentrated period of creative output in preparation for the show, and I feel so fortunate that Travis chose to take this journey with me.

Travis and I met at the Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival three years ago. Upon meeting him and speaking with him, this is what I saw: a fellow younger generation tap dancer with an immense respect for the art form and its masters; a very accomplished artist with a resume packed full of incredible experiences – including a role in the movie “Bojangles” with Savion Glover and the late Gregory Hines; and most recently, the biggest performance of his life as a principal tap dancer in the Opening Ceremonies at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver – but simultaneously, an artist who is hungry to learn more, hungry for the continued expansion of his own ability to communicate through the language of tap; an incredibly dynamic, mesmerizing performer who comes to the stage with purpose (he has “something to say,” as we tap dancers like to put it) – his presence onstage is honest and he has a sincere desire to connect with the audience. Powerful.

Travis gets that when he is onstage, it isn’t about “him” it’s about the audience – they’re our customers, after all! I have so much respect for this acknowledgement and approach. I believe that we have a responsibility to entertain our audience, to connect with them and to share an experience. It is not nearly as meaningful if we are onstage in front of people simply because we love to tap dance. We can connect on a deeper level by focusing our purpose on giving. What can we share? How can we connect with people on an emotional level so that they leave inspired, in thought, or elated? How can we bring a positive energy to the lives of others through that which we are most passionate about?
Travis’ Choreography
The piece we spent the most time rehearsing for FLOW was a gorgeous, transformative piece choreographed by Travis to the song “Butterfly.” Working on this choreography truly propelled me to the next level, both in expression and technical ability. It was a beautiful journey, and I hope we can bring this piece out again in the future!

The original composition for the song “Butterfly” was by Herbie Hancock, but Travis’ inspiration came from Robert Glasper’s version:

And get this: The Robert Glasper Experiment came to Jazz Alley just two weeks before the premiere of FLOW. We were both in total disbelief when we found out that they’d be here… in Seattle! What are the chances? It was a “stars aligning” kind of moment that made everything for FLOW feel so right. Very Cool. …hearing them play “Butterfly” live was spectacular! Talk about an ‘inspirational-on-the-verge-of-depressing-because-they’re-so-phenomenal’ performance. Haha. Amazing!

Following their show, we met saxophonist Casey Benjamin and drummer Chris Dave:

I could go on.

And on.

But, I’ll end here by expressing my gratitude one last time. It was such a pleasure.

 

Thanks, Travis.

Pictures from FLOW:

Peace,

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