Dance groups Graffiti and Tonik Tap will be performing in their sixth annual collaboration show “Graffoniks” this weekend.
Both groups bring different styles of dance to the stage, with Graffiti highlighting contemporary and Tonik performing tap fused with some hip-hop grooves. Each Graffoniks show features choreography that the teams have worked on from the beginning of the year individually as well as dances that combine both contemporary and tap, creating a visually and audibly unique set.
The theme for this year’s show “Glow Up,” pays homage to the performers’ experiences with dance as children. Since most of the dancers in Graffoniks are classically trained, the members used their old dance photos to promote the event on social media. Through this theme, the performers hope to showcase how much they’ve “glowed up” since they started dancing as children.
Graffoniks as a unit has also “glowed up” through their six years of working together.
“It’s amazing to see what Graffoniks looks like now compared to the past,” says Julia Gaumond, the co-artistic director of Graffiti. “We have a better understanding of each other’s styles and it’s cool because the dancers are growing into their own styles as well through choreographing and putting something on stage.”
Graffoniks is not your ordinary tap and contemporary show (which is a unique combination to begin with). Audience members can expect to see both styles taken in a new direction with “Glow Up.”
“When people think about tap, they think about a very traditional form that’s rooted mainly in jazz music. It’s all about just the feet, just rhythms and really complicated tap moves,” says Isabel Alamin, the co-artistic director of Tonik. “That form is something we do, but we also try to incorporate other types of dance in our pieces, like hip-hop and contemporary.”
This year, Graffoniks is expanding their show repertoire by including pieces that wouldn’t necessarily fit under the umbrella of tap and contemporary. The dancers are ready to break it down to hip-hop songs, spin in heels and move across and on the floor with “contamp” (contemporary and tap in one piece).
“We’ve spent a lot of time working together as a unified cross-group,” says Grace Richardson, the marketing director of Tonik. “I think that bled into Tonik and what our small group pieces are like, with more full-body movement.”
“Glow Up” is more than a simple tap and contemporary show, offering something enjoyable for every audience member. The venue, Wirtz Ballroom, is also small and intimate and the show will include an interactive element for viewers to engage further with Graffoniks.
“If you want to see people do incredible ballet technique and gorgeous turns, you’ll see that. If you want to see people pounding their feet so hard that you think they’ll fall off, you’ll see that. If you want to see people attempting some hard-hitting hip-hop, you’ll see that,” says Alamin.
“Graffoniks 2020: Glow-Up” is January 17 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. and January 18 at 9:30 p.m. in the Wirtz Ballroom.