Capital Fringe 2014 Review: ‘The Adventures of Tapman’

(The Best of the Capital Fringe)

The Tap Dance Kid meets Batman with some fancy footwork

Ratta-ta-tap. The masked man moves across the floor. A-shoom, he leaps into the air. His fluid arms and legs seem to command the space around him. He is a jack-in-the-box. He is Dorothy’s Scarecrow. He is Michael Jackson moonwalking. He is Batman.

Batman? Really? Nope, this show is called The Adventures of Tapman, but Tristan Bruns’ alter ego is a super hero who can knock out a triple time step like the best of hoofers. And his partner, a modern dancer-marvel-comic-heroine played by Kate O’Hanlon, matches his technique – and even upstages him by topping his syncopated rhythms routine from time to time.


The dancers move their feet in such swift, succinct fashion, you could become tired just from watching them. They got a cheering ovation at the end of their performance Tuesday night at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, and I can only guess that the people who didn’t rise were too tuckered out to do so.

Located in the hear of the H Street cultural corridor, the Atlas was the first public air conditioned building and formerly a movie theater. It was perfect setting for a tap showcase.

The foundation of the tappers’ movement style is traditional step and clog dancing, a jig-and-tap based routine in which dancers hold their bodies erect yet relaxed, keeping arms close to their sides while they patter out complex rhythms with their feet. The syncopation of the sound they produce is challenging.

There were times, however, when the pre-recorded musical accompaniment could have been louder and clearer. And the film clips added little to the show. Nonetheless, the tapping was ‘on the money,’ as they say.

Bring the kids and do join the dancers on stage for the traditional “Shim-Sham.”

Running Time: 60 minutes.

The Adventures of the Tap Man plays through July 27, 2014 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center – 1333 H Street, NE, in Washington, DC. For information and to purchase tickets, check their Capital Fringe Page. 

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Carolyn Kelemen
Carolyn Kelemen is an award-winning arts critic and feature writer for the Baltimore Sun, Howard County Times, and Columbia Flier - 45 years and counting. The Columbia resident earned her Masters Degree in Dance at Mills College in California and has taught college and graduate courses at Goucher College, Loyola, the College of Notre Dame and Howard Community College. A professional dancer throughout the East Coast in the late 50s and early 60s, she was trained in classical ballet, modern dance, jazz and tap. Her TV/film career includes MPT’s “ weeknight Alive” and years of local productions in the Maryland/DC area. Carolyn is a longtime member of the Dance Critics of America, the American Theatre Critics Association. She has proudly produced the “A Labor of Love” AIDS benefits since 1988.



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