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Dorrance Dance, ETM: Double Down

  • Eisenhower Auditorium State College, PA 16801 (map)

Dorrance Dance is an award-winning tap dance company that honors tap dance’s uniquely beautiful history in a new, dynamic, and compelling context, not by stripping the form of its tradition, but by pushing it - rhythmically, technically, and conceptually. 

ETM: Double Downa collaboration between artistic director MIchelle Dorrance and her longtime friend and company member Nicholas Van Young, incorporates his electronic tap boards, which he compares to electronic drum triggers; here, they work for the feet. “The entire stage is an instrument” is how Mr. Young described the effect. (“ETM” stands for “electronic tap music,” a nod toward electronic dance music.) “There are a million different elements, and then there are larger themes inside of it, ” Ms. Dorrance said of the work, which explores acoustic and digitally produced sounds. “But at the same time, our taps will always be present. - Gia Kourlas, The New York Times

Dorrance Dance honors tap dance’s history while pushing its rhythmic, technical, and conceptual boundaries. By incorporating other forms that have shaped American culture — such as street, club, and experimental dance — the company highlights the traditional elements of tap dance and its musical rhythms in a contemporary context. Founded in 2011 by artistic director and MacArthur “genius” Fellow Michelle Dorrance, the ensemble’s first performance earned a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for “blasting open our notions of tap.”

ETM: Double Down, choreographed by Dorrance and company member Nicholas Van Young, is a 2016 evening-length work that uses electronic tap boards. The stage, in effect, becomes a musical instrument. The score is not just danced to but danced by the company. ETM, which stands for electronic tap music, features eight dancers and six musicians furiously exploring acoustic and digitally produced sounds.

“Since the beginnings of tap dance, practitioners have been lugging around wooden boards, instruments used to drum upon with their feet,” writes a New York Times reviewer. “Now, in an era of electronic dance music, new possibilities beg to be explored. What if you plugged those boards into computers? That’s what Michelle Dorrance does with her troupe, Dorrance Dance, in ETM: Double Down, a fresh and innovative show … .”

Tickets are required (online or phone 1-800-ARTS-TIX or 814-863-0255). Limited complementary tickets may be available; phone Christine Igoe at at the CPA box office, 814-863-0234, to inquire. Reservations are also necessary for the AD service; please contact the SLSG office ( or phone 814-238-0132) by Feb 13. Please arrive by 7 pm to obtain your equipment and to listen to valuable pre-show information. Run time for the show is 1 hour and 35 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission.