The Chicago Human Rhythm Project announced Friday that Jumaane Taylor will serve as artistic director of its signature festival, Rhythm World. Taylor, a Chicago native, trained at the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre and has a long-standing relationship with Rhythm World, now in its 30th year. The renowned festival—which runs July 26-Aug. 15 and will include lectures, master classes and performances by some of the world’s top hoofers—is the oldest event of its kind dedicated exclusively to American tap dance.
“As the new artistic director of Rhythm World, I am honored to uplift the beauty I experienced with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project,” Taylor said in a prepared statement. “I was only 10 years old when I first auditioned for their festival scholarship, and since then I never saw tap the same.”
Classes and workshops will be taught by Taylor, Robyn Watson, Jason Janas and Karissa Royster in week one. Week two faculty includes Ivery Wheeler, Caleb Teicher, Kaleena Miller and Naomi Funaki. A teacher certification and choreographic residency are held on the third week, featuring faculty Ian Berg, Maurice Chestnut, Christina Carminucci and Sarah Savelli. Brian Seibert, a New York Times critic and author of the celebrated book “What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing” will give a lecture in week three, as well.
“Jumaane’s appointment marks a coming of age for CHRP,” said festival founder Lane Alexander in a statement. “This is a wonderful tribute to the past teachers and our co-founders as we chart a new path forward building on their lessons.”
Public programs featuring many of the festival’s prestigious faculty in performance take place at the DuSable Museum (Aug. 7), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Aug. 14), the legendary Jazz Showcase (July 27, Aug. 3 and Aug. 10) and Navy Pier’s Lake Stage (July 28). Jazz Showcase and MCA performances include live music by the Eric Hochberg Trio. Tickets go on sale June 19. Registration for all education programs is open now at chicagotap.org.