Simply Sound: Savion Glover's "Sole Power"

June 30, 2010

Savion Glover’s newest tap production is aptly named. In SoLE PoWER, his feet—and the sounds they produce—are the thing. Glover has been pursuing this theme for a few years now, billing himself as an instrumentalist, part of the band, rather than a dancer. Here, the only musicians on stage are the tappers.


The second act takes place in a futuristic fantasyland called Galxc9, and Glover is accompanied by seven other virtuosic tappers (the youngest and newest member of the group, Zoe Elliot, makes a strong impression). But it’s the first act, when Glover takes the stage alone, that reminds us why he’s the best.


Glover’s feet hit nearly every count, all the way down to sprightly sixteenth notes, the rat-a-tat patter amplified by mikes placed beneath elevated sound boards. Though the sounds are unrelenting, the rhythms are anything but consistent. Each part of the foot creates a unique tone and Glover plays this array of notes on different beats. Sometimes he’ll follow a pattern for a few measures, perhaps his right heel thudding deeply on the one and four counts. Then, without any indication from his upper body (his feet drive, the body follows), he’ll shift, surprising listeners with a higher pitched toe tap on count seven. Just as other forms—ballet, jazz—demand focused attention, Glover’s work is best appreciated with carefully attuned ears. At one point, Glover asks the light operator to bring down the lights. The stage goes dark except for a backdrop speckled with pinpoints of illumination. Against a night sky Glover taps out a song.