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Tap Dancing in The Big Apple

“I believe that there are certain skills that one might be born with—like an affinity for hearing rhythms, or differences in tone, or physical awareness—but these are also trainable. Whatever you are gifted with, there is always an amount of work that must be invested in order to grow.” –Andrew Nemr

Episode three of American Lifestyle TV takes viewers to New York City to meet up with Andrew Nemr, the accomplished tap dancing professional that we first met in Issue 68’s article, “Rhythm and Sole: Andrew Nemr on Life and Tap Dancing.” Tap along with ALTV host Tonja Walker as she provides a behind-the-scenes look at dancing with Andrew, exploring firsthand what it means to embrace the joy that comes from living out your dreams.

Cofounder of the Tap Legacy Foundation, Andrew Nemr is a TED Fellow and the artist in residence for the Quarterly Arts Soiree at Webster Hall. Considered to be one of the most diverse and experienced tap dancers today, Tonja chats with Andrew about the journey that led him to where he is today.

Andrew Early Dance

Andrew developing his love for dance with Chris Collins at Chris Collins Dance Studio

Andrew began his career at just three years old. The son of two Lebanese immigrants, his family lived mere minutes away from the Chris Collins Dance Studio in Alexandria, Virginia, where he developed a lifelong passion for tap dancing.

His love for dance derives from the movie Tap, starring Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis, which he saw when he was nine years old. He gave himself 30 years to meet Gregory (by the time Nemr was 40), but he had the good fortune to meet Gregory only a year later; Gregory was teaching a workshop at Woodpeckers Tap Dance Center in New York City, where Andrew traveled to just to meet his role model.

Andrew and Gregory Hines

Andrew and mentor Gregory Hines

Andrew finds the stage to be a safe space; his true self shines when he enters the spotlight. As his career developed, he found that his dance style varied, depending on the context of the situation and the emotions he feels in the moment. Each time he performs, there is a story he conveys to his audience; his choreography comes from many places of inspiration, such as music, lyrics, and different scenarios. His hope is to dig deep, and reflect back the love that audiences show to him.

Although he originally felt that he did not have enough experience to teach, Andrew decided to share his knowledge and talent with students. His love for and knowledge of tap have even taken him to TEDGlobal, where, in 2012, he discussed the importance of dancing from the heart.


Tonja and Andrew discuss the emotions behind each of his performances

Andrew wants to remind people of the joy that can come from doing something that they love; he finds tap dancing to be a beautiful form that one can gain so much from practicing—it has the potential to spread joy and bring people together.

Andrew shares this joy with Tonja, and provides her with a short tap dance lesson. Look for this moment and more about Andrew’s life of tap in “Rhythm and Sole: Tap Dancing with Andrew Nemr in New York City” on ALTV!

For more entertaining episodes, check out our American Lifestyle TV page!


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