Picks and Pans Review: Gregory Hines' Tap Dance in America

UPDATED 03/20/1989 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/20/1989 at 01:00 AM EST

PBS (Fri., March 17, 9 P.M. ET)


If the energy from this hour-long special could be harnessed—or should we say, tapped—the world's nuclear power plants could be permanently dismantled. "There's nothing like the sound of our feet talking," says Hines, who, besides tapping up a tempest, acts as narrator. (Hines's current movie, Tap, also pleads the case of tap dancing as an art form.) In addition to star turns by such legendary tap dancers as Bunny Briggs, Buster Brown, Sandman Sims and Jimmy Slyde, we meet the new kids on the block, who have revived and reinterpreted the art: There are the four-member Women in Tap, the gymnastic duo of Hinton Battle and Gregg Burge, and Broadway's Tap Dance Kid himself, Savion Glover, 15. One dancer, Fred Strickler, taps to "Spring Symphony" by modern classical composer Benjamin Britten! But the show's highlight is a tap duet between Hines and Broadway's own Tommy Tune, who has legs longer than moonbeams. The show's finale is an orgy of tap, as the entire cast and many amateur tappers in the audience converge onstage at the old Billy Rose Diamond Horseshoe in Manhattan to do their thing. Tap dancing must be the brain's most effective releaser of endorphins. Everyone up there looks as if they're in a state of nirvana, rather than New York.

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