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Drop it like it’s H.O.T.

By Polina Potochevska

Section: Features, Top Stories

February 10, 2017

The rhythm of tap shoes, the enthusiasm of performance and the thrill of original choreography all combine when Hooked on Tap dancers are onstage. The only group of its kind on campus, Hooked On Tap, or H.O.T., is a dance and performance club for students who are hooked on tap dancing. With an upcoming show, the group is in its most exciting time of the semester.

While one goal of H.O.T. each semester is to learn new tap choreography, taught by fellow members of the club, H.O.T co-president Lori Shapiro ’17 said that the “main goal is to keep people tapping for fun.” Many of the dancers in the 30-member club have experience with tap, but beginners can also join the group and learn techniques from the more experienced dancers, as the group does not turn anyone away. Beginners and more advanced dancers can join H.O.T. during placements in the start of each fall semester.

In addition to normal rehearsals, where dancers learn choreography for various shows, H.O.T. hosts free master classes at Brandeis taught by professional tappers. This includes a class last semester taught by Ian Berg, who is a member of the Chicago-based tap company MADD Rhythms, as well as a director and choreographer for Subject: Matter, a group of tap dancers in the Boston Area, according to his website. Alumnae have also returned to teach open classes. It is a great way for dancers to learn new choreography, in more challenging ways and with new styles, while simultaneously learning from influential members of the tap community.

H.O.T mixes tap with the chance to choreograph your own piece, participate in a friend’s dance, learn from a professional or see tap as it is performed by other college groups.

Shapiro’s favorite memory while being a member of H.O.T. was when she co-choreographed a tap piece with Emily Cohen ’17, another member of the group, during their sophomore year. Having never choreographed a tap dance before, Shapiro was able to try something new and explore a different aspect of the art.

If you are not inclined to dance but would rather watch the talented dancers perform, come to their semester show. “Drop It Like It’s H.O.T.” will take over the SCC Theater on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. The show will consist of 15 tap pieces, including dances choreographed by alumnae and other colleges’ tap ensembles. Boston University, Boston College, Brown and Harvard will perform during the show. Admission is free with a Brandeis ID.

If you are not able to make the semester show, H.O.T. enjoys performing and can be seen dancing in other performances, such as Fall Fest, the semesterly Adagio show and Culture X.
Shapiro reflected that she joined H.O.T. not only because she loves to tap, but also because “the group of people is really fun, [and] because there’s not that many of us—we’re like a dance family.”

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