The late tap master Gregory Hines called Savion Glover “the greatest tap dancer who ever lived.” And Glover’s near flawless SoLe Sanctuary performance on Saturday at the Adrienne Arsht Center made this clear. An innovative musician, Glover uses his metal-clad shoes as instruments. Performing with him was Miami’s own tap sensation, Marshall Davis Jr.
Special effects, lighting and recorded music at the Knight Concert Hall were kept to a minimum. Glover and Davis’ coordinated feet were the soundtrack that kept the diverse crowd applauding and intensely connected to the story they told through the lightning fast pats, gallops and stomps of their tap shoes.
Unlike Glover’s spectacular Broadway shows, there was no orchestra or gleaming tuxedos. Glover, a two-time Tony Award winner, and Davis were dressed down. This was a subdued but moving and thoroughly entertaining homage to the tap icons of yesteryear.
Glover was the dominant force in SoLeSanctuary, but Davis nonetheless achieved complex steps with ease and stayed on cue during the lightly choreographed sequences. Davis was lighter on his feet, reminiscent of the classic prowess of Sammy Davis and Hines on stage, while Glover went inside the rhythm and dazzled.
Images of Hines and seven other late tap dancing greats hung on the back wall. A woman meditated on stage for the duration of the show, a symbol of the deep reflection both men say they feel each day as the “last remaining” hoofers.
Glover and Davis, who worked closely with Hines, showed what it meant to live, love and speak the language of tap—and mourn the loss of fathers in the art form.
The look and feel of the show brought viewers back to the jazz and bebop era, without any of the hip-hop and funk fusion that made Glover so popular.
Glover has said that he can’t let younger generations forget about the great tap legends. As the crowd lingered in the lobby after the show, a familiar sound pierced the room – a young boy from the audience, tap dancing.