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No Maps On My Taps

Friday, July 10, 2015 ,  7PM

Black Cinema House
7200 S. Kimbark Ave.
Chicago, IL , go to map

Admissions: Free

No Maps On My Taps

No Maps On My Taps (1979)

Chicago Film Archives and the Black Cinema House are pleased to present NO MAPS ON MY TAPS as part of our summer series (we’re bringing it back indoors for this one). With musical direction by Lionel Hampton, this spirited 1978 film offers up an indigenous American dance form (and its history) by showcasing the footwork of Sandman Sims, Chuck Green and Bunny Briggs. Rare 1930s Hollywood and Harlem clips document the earliest incarnations of Tap that inspired these three legendary hoofers. This film is an extremely intimate backstage, back alley tour that brings us inside the lives of these three Tap giants. Competitive riffing using individual dance styles recalls jazz (the undeniable sister art form) and the fancy footwork found in the ring. This is their “last hoorah”and by inference the waning days of this intricate dance form.

But wait! To bring this vibrant dance form into the here and now, we are thrilled that Chicago tap masters Reggio the Hoofer and Bril Barrett of M.A.D.D. Rhythms will join us after the screening to discuss Chicago’s own past and present landscape of percussive dance. Jenai Cutcher West, Project Director of Chicago Dance History Project, will lead this discussion, prying open Chicago’s little-known history of tap artistry.

This program will be preceded by two folkloric shorts: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in Peoples Ears and Kuumba

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears (1984, 10 min, digital video)
Retells a West African tale which explains why the mosquito, responsible for the death of Mother Owl’s baby, buzzes in people’s ears for forgiveness.

Kuumba (1978, 8 min, digital video)
An animated  folktale illustrating the principle KUUMBA (Creativity). A boy named Simon, from the island of Trinidad, uses his natural creative gifts to develop a new musical instrument – just in time to celebrate Carnival.

No Maps On My Taps (1979, 58 min, digital video)

Seating is limited, so we ask that attendees RSVP in advance. Please note that we cannot guarantee seats for attendees who do not RSVP.


Reggio got his start dancing in Chicago’s streets and subways where he developed his unique style of footloose, fancy-free hoofing. Working with Urban Gateways as a dancer and educator, Reggio combined art with learning to bring his presentations into schools, museums and libraries. In May of 2014, Reggio joined company with Cab Calloway, Gene Kelly and Gregory Hines in receiving the prestigious Flo-Bert Award for lifetime achievement in Tap. He recently released an autobiography, Tap Dance of Life. Reggio is based out of the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

Bril Barrett is a creative tap dancer, whose mission is to preserve and promote tap dance as a percussive art form, foster respect and admiration for the history and creators of tap, and continuously create opportunities for the art form and its practitioners. Bril is the founder of M.A.D.D. (Making a Difference Dancing) Rhythms, director of The Chicago Tap Summit and founder of The M.A.D.D. Rhythms Tap Academy. He has started many outreach programs in Chicago’s public schools, Park districts, a performing arts high school in Gary, Indiana and several After School Matters programs on the city’s Westside and Southside.

Jenai Cutcher West is a tap dancer, writer, teacher and filmmaker. She recently became the Project Director of Chicago Dance History Project.   Her first documentary, “Thinking On Their Feet: Women of the Tap Renaissance” screened throughout international film festivals. She has written three children’s books about dance as well as articles for various publications that include The Village Voice and Dance Magazine. She will be teaching tap dance at Northwestern University in the fall.

Black Cinema House
7200 S. Kimbark Ave.
Chicago, IL
go to map