95 Empire Street
William “Bill” Evans founded his Rhythm Tap Ensemble in 1992, as a vehicle for reconstructions of classic works by seminal African American rhythm tap artists as well as the creation of new works which fuse Evans’ contemporary dance and modern dance styles. Evans became a resident of Providence in August, 2014, and this will be the first time he presented an all tap dance show in Rhode Island.
He will be joined by Courtney World and Kristen Socci. Courtney received her MFA under Evans’ guidance from The College at Brockport in 2007. She performed with both the Evans (mostly modern) Dance Company and the Rhythm Ensemble through 2013, when she appeared with BEDCO at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. She is now the director of dance at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Kristen received her BFA from Brockport, under Evans’ guidance, in 2012. She danced with the Rhythm Tap Ensemble for several years and—after moving to New York City—performed with Andrew Nmer company and performed at Jacob’s Pillow under the direction of Dianne Walker.
William, Courtney and Kristen will perform a suite of rhythm tap classics choreographed by the legends Buster Brown, Honi Coles and Brenda Bufalino, and E.B. Brown. They will also share a seminal work choreographed by Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. In addition, they will perform a work they created collaboratively by integrating rhythms created by Leon Collins, Dianne Walker and Steve Condos.
Evans will perform a suite of dances choreographed by Fred Strickler to Samuel Barber’s masterful piano wok Excursions.
The remainder of the program will be works choreographed by Evans, including Three Preludes (George Gershwin), Los Ritmos Calientes (Horace Silver), and Yes, Indeed! (a cappella).
The concert with include brief spoken introductions to the various pieces and will display the remarkable variety of styles and moods to be found in the American art form of rhythm tap dance.
WILLIAM “BILL” EVANS was born on April 11, 1940. It has been his tradition to perform on each anniversary of his birth, since he turned 40 in 1980. Help him celebrate his 76th!
He is artistic director of the Bill Evans Dance Company (based in Seattle, then Albuquerque and then Rochester, New York), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in April, 2014. It has performed in all 50 states, throughout Mexico and Canada, and in 22 other countries. It was among the most-booked companies in the U.S. for several years under the Dance Touring and Artist-in-the-Schools Programs of the National Endowment for the Arts. William founded the Evans Rhythm Tap Ensemble in 1992. He was formerly one of three artistic coordinators, a choreographer and a dancer for Utah’s Repertory Dance Theatre, for which he has created 19 works, including a commissioned work to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary. He was formerly artistic director of Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers and has served as an annual guest artist with the School of Contemporary Dancers Professional Program for the past two decades.
Evans has choreographed more than 275 works for more than 60 professional companies throughout the world and been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, numerous grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and more than 75 other awards from public and private arts agencies in the U.S. and Canada. He received the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and two Awards for Excellence in Dance from the Albuquerque Arts Alliance. He was voted one of the three favorite world tap dance artists in the Dance Magazine Readers Poll. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Dance Guild in New York City and the Dance Educator of Year Award from the New York State Dance Education Association. He was awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the National Dance Education Organization and Dance Teacher Magazine. He received the Outstanding Service Award from the National High School Dance Festival, was named National Dance Association Scholar/Artist and is one of the first three honorary members of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science. He received the distinguished dance alumnus award from the University of Utah and is the 2016 choreography fellow of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.
His most significant life’s work has been as a dance educator. He is currently a professor of dance and artist in residence at Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts. He is professor of dance emeritus the State University of New York College at Brockport and distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Utah. He founded the Bill Evans Summer Institute of Dance in 1977 and has taught thousands of students and teachers in the past four decades. He created the Evans Method of Teaching Modern Dance Technique, which is disseminated through a four-summer certification program.
He earned BA and MFA degrees from the University of Utah and is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Cornish College of the Arts.
His book, Reminiscences of a Dancing Man: A Photographic Journey of a Life in Dance, was published in 2005.