To many, tapping great Savion Glover’s place in history is secure.
But for Glover, who’s been tapping for nearly 30 years, there is still so much to be done.
“I want my dance to be like…[John] Coltrane,” Glover laughs, eluding to the famous jazz musician. “I want to reach a place where my dance goes beyond tap dancing—just sound in its truest form.”
Glover, 36, began tapping at the age of seven. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in 1989’s Black and Blue.
Just seven years later, Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk earned Glover his first Tony for choreography.
And for those who may only recognize him from Noise/Funk, which famously combined hip-hop and rap with traditional tap rhythms, Glover said he’s done a “960” since then.
“I went from wanting to be Sticky Fingaz (from 90s rap group Onyx) to wanting to be Gandhi,” Glover laughs. “It’s just a complete turnaround in my life.”
His most recent show, “SoLE PoWER,” just wrapped at New York City’s Joyce Theater.
And you can add ‘teacher’ to Glover’s impressive resume as well. He’s opened a tap school in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey completely dedicated to paying homage to the tap legends he says showed him the right way to dance.
“The [late] Gregory Hines, Jimmy Slyde, these are my guys,” Glover said. “It’s more important to me my students know who these guys are—because, hopefully, if you know them, you’ll know me. [Tap] is more than just a dance, it’s an art form.”
Glover is concerned many young performers are caught up in what he calls the ‘idiot box’ — television competition shows which promise fame and instant success.
“Man, I’ll never be a judge on these shows, America’s Got Talent, and ‘Who wants to be the next whatever,” Glover insists. “It’s doing the kids a disservice. It’s not how the greats I came up with would have done things.”
Glover has other plans for his tap school as well. He wants to renovate more of the building so it can house educational programs that will help uplift everyone—whether they tap or not.
”[This community] sees me as a tap dancer but my duty here on Earth I’m realizing is far beyond that,” Glover said. “I’ll be right here in Newark until all these buildings become skyscrapers.”