View trailer here for Tap Dogs
On the eve of Dein Perry’s new Australian season and tour of Tap Dogs, I managed to snatch a few moments with him to ask a few quick questions for our readers…
How are things going for the new show?
Great – we pretty much have a whole new generation of dancers now. Plans are going really well, this is probably the first time we’ve gone out and done regional Australia over the period we’ve been doing Tap Dogs – I’m really looking forward to it!
What was the stimulus for your new show? Is there a new storyline as such?
No, the show has developed over time and the structure is quite different. We have some female cast now, drummers, and it has more live music content in general. The show has a lot more humour now – it’s a lot funnier and ‘knock-about’ than it used to be and it just has that quality about it. It’s very entertaining – we have developed new routines, cut some and replaced others. We’re really happy with where it is at the moment – it’s a really good solid piece!
How are the new cast different from the original 1990s version of the show?
It’s interesting actually, it’s like now we have 20-25 year olds in it. The only older guy we have in the show is my brother Sheldon who still leads the pack on stage – it’s probably his 15th year or so doing it! He’s taught a lot with me in the show; it’s great to have him out there leading the guys on stage and it’s been really interesting having these guys and developing their stage characters. To try and find the right guys has been a bit difficult but, in saying that, these days there’s so many more guys dancing than there was when we first started. There wasn’t a great deal of male dancers at all so it was very hard to find Tap Dogs in the beginning but it’s getting easier now in terms of having a lot more to choose from. Hopefully our show had some influence on making it okay for guys to dance!
Where have you drawn the cast from – is it still a largely Newcastle based cast?
Not really – one of our really great guys that’s been with us for a few year’s now is from Canberra; a new guy from Melbourne, from Brisbane – basically all over the place, including a few strong guns from the US.
Do you get to catch up with the original cast much?
Yes I keep up with most of them by text and catch up in person whenever we can.
What are your thoughts on the direction of tap in Australia at the moment?
I think the standard is much higher than it used to be and there is so much more out there! When we started Tap Dogs there was really nothing so we were lucky in that sense to jump into the pocket of a virtually untouched area of tap dance with entertainment.
Would you say you have helped put Tap on the map in Australia and Internationally?
I think and hope so – prior to Tap Dogs, there wasn’t a lot of tap out there. In Australia there was ‘Hot Shoe Shuffle’ but it was still a song and dance show whereas Tap Dogs is all about the rhythm and the musicality of the TAP. There’s no dialogue in the show – never has been – except for a few grunts and groans. When we first started, our main competition was ‘Riverdance’ really – it all sort of came out at the same time. I’m chuffed that we’re still around after 18 years!
What advice do you have for young TAP PUPS in training at the moment?
Train your technique! Character can be built on stage with the camaraderie of the cast around you, but there’s no substitute for great technique. One of the beautiful things I’m seeing in my own classes in Bondi is that 200 out of the 250 students we have are boys which is fantastic to see – it’s like training a football team in tap shoes!
It’s great to see the once held stigma of boys participating in Dance is now dissipating and hopefully Tap Dogs has had something to do with that!
What do you love most about Tap Dogs?
It really is a team effort on stage – the boys are all great mates – it’s a tough show to get through every night but they do us proud! It’s a challenge and I think that’s what people like about it because they can see the effort the performers put in when they watch it!
To find out when Tap Dogs will be heading your way, see our article here
We have limited tickets still to give away – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name address and contact details for your chance to win tickets to Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs!