Contemporary Leaders

Welcome to a sample of contemporary tap dance artists, leaders and pioneers who have truly made (and are making) a difference.  Check out additional leaders on our Organizations & Companies page.


** Please note that these are external links, and that the ITA is not responsible for the content.


We at the ITA are human and unfortunately overlook things that are vital and important to our mission. We also are constantly updating this list, but if we have missed one of our leaders by oversight,  please help us.  If you have (or are) an artist that we have regretfully overlooked and meet one or more of the following criteria please let us know:


Individuals who have worked professionally as a master teacher, soloist, artistic director or choreographer within the field since the mid 1980's (or prior) and currently have direct or indirect connections to the international tap dance festival community.


Individuals who have worked as guest faculty for a minimum of 5 international tap dance festivals or major international or national educational organizations. *Letters of recognized peer review and/or letters of recommendation may be required.




Submissions will be reviewed quarterly by the ITA Review Board



Lane Alexander - Founder and director of The Chicago Human Rhythm Project as well as sought after master teacher and soloist.


Chloe Arnold - Inspired and mentored by Debbie Allen and a popular teacher and performer, Chloe Arnold hopes to also inspire and unite people globally through the arts.


Bril Barrett - Founder of M.A.D.D. (Making a Difference Dancing) Rhythms, co-founder of M.A.D.D. Rhythms Canada and director of The Chicago Tap Summit. 











Terry Brock - Former member of The Jazz Tap Ensemble and has worked with numerous tap legends onstage and off.


Brenda Bufalino - Recognized throughout the world as a leading exponent and innovator in tap. Dancer Spotlight (August, 2009)


Roxane Butterfly - A globe-tapper in search of humanity through her sounds and movement. Dancer Spotlight (Dec 2008)


Ayodele Casel - An influencial artist that has danced with the greatest tap dancers and companies including the late Gregory Hines, The Jazz Tap Ensemble, Imagine Tap! and Wonderland (co-produced and directed by Sarah Savelli) Diary of a Tap Dancer and much more. Dancer Spotlight (Feb 2009)


Heather Cornell - Solo artist and choreographer as well as Artistic Director and principal choeographer for Manhattan Tap.


Lynn Dally - Artistic Director of the Jazz Tap Ensemble,

is a recognized leader in the renaissance of tap dance

in the U.S. and abroad.


Michelle Dorrance - A sought after soloist, master teacher, choreographer and ensemble dancer throughout the field of tap dance.


Barbara Duffy - Artistic Director Barbara Duffy & Company as well as a featured soloist across the U.S. and abroad. 


Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards - From Broadway's Black & Blue and Bring in Da Noise to The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang on film, Ms. Edwards stays busy as one of the female leaders in the field. Dancer Spotlight (June, 2010)


Linda Sohl-Ellison - Artistic Director and founder of LA based Rhapsody in Taps since 1981; sought after master teacher, solo artist and choreographer as well as professor of dance at Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA. 


Jay Fagan - A true song-and-dance man and popular solo artist and master teacher; currently on faculty at Oklahoma City University.


Anita Feldman - A leading innovator of tap dance, choreographing pieces in collaboration with new music composers that incorporate electronics and her patented “Tap Dance Instrument.”  Author of Inside Tap.


Savion Glover - Made his professional debut in The Tap Dance Kid  and has greatly influenced the style and passion of American tap dance today.


Acia Gray - Solo artist, master teacher and choreographer, Artistic Director of Tapestry Dance Comany and author of The Souls of Your Feet.


Jane Goldberg - A tap dancer pioneer who helped lead the tap revival of the mid 1970's and beyond.


Derick Grant - Came to prominence in 1996, as an original company member and Dance Captain in the musical Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk.  Now a leader in the tap community world-wide was also the director (and co-creator with Aaron Tolson) of the popular Imagine Tap!


Steven Harper - Based in Brazil, a leader in modern tap dance today.


Josh Hilberman - A popular high energy performer and master teacher who has appeared alongside most every hoofer of note. 



Lisa Hopkins - Founder & Director of "TAP KIDS". International touring show since 2002 and Summer Intensive since 2000. Former company member of Manhattan Tap. 















Katherine Kramer A vital presence in the resurgence and evolution of classic jazz and tap dance since the 1970’s.





Ted Levy - Studied extensively with Chicago's tap masters and made his Broadway debut in Black & Blue. Also collaborated with George C. Wolfe and Gregory Hines on Jelly's Last Jam.  


Avi Miller & Ofer Ben - Partners in the New York and Israli based Jazz Tap Center.


Margaret Morrison - Solo artist, choreographer, master teacher and researcher, also Education Director for the American Tap Dance Foundation and professor in the Dance Department of Barnard College.


Michael Minery Director of Tapaholics and travels extensively as a performer, choreographer and master teacher.





Andrew J. Nemr - Mentored by Gregory Hines, is now the Artistic Director and lead dancer of CPD PLUS.  and President of the Tap Legacy Foundation co-founded with Hines.  












Drika Overton - The leader of MaD Theatricals as well as Clara's Dream - a tap dance Nutcracker.




Dein Perry - Creator and choreographer of Tap Dogs.



Leela Petronio - Tap dancer, stomper & body percussionist; Artistic Director of the Hip Tap Project blending rhythm tap with urban and percussive expressions.



Sarah Petronio - Pioneer rhythm tap dancer, referred to by critics as "jazz in motion"; introduced tap dancing in Paris jazz clubs in the 80's; protegé and dancing partner of the late Dr. Jimmy Slyde in Europe. 



Valeria Pinheiro - An ecclectic leader in rhythm, theatre and tap dance in Brazil.



Max Pollack - As an accomplished drummer has incorporated elements of Afro-Cuban music and jazz in his performances and developed what he calls "Rumba-Tap". Dancer Spotlight (SEPT, 2010)



 Robert L. Reed - Founder and Director of the St. Louis Tap Festival and The Tap Heritage Institute.



Gregg Russell - A popular master teacher around the world as well as tap instructional DVD leader.



Jason Samuels-Smith - An Emmy Award winning leader in tap dance today.  Dancer Spotlight (Apr 2009)




Sarah Savelli - Director and co-creator of Wonderland,  co-producer of Tappy Holidays and the Cleveland Tap Intensive; also artistic director for several years of Rhythm ISS.



Fred Strickler - A prolific choreographer and dancer equally comfortable in classical, jazz and modern styles.



Grant Swift - For over 20 years has brought tap dance performance and education to the shores of Australia.



Tamango - Artistic Director of Urban Tap; a dancer, musician and painter whose work transforms his dance into music.













Tommy Tune - A Tony Award winning Broadway choreographer and entertainer



Tony Waag - Artistic/Executive Director of The American Tap Dance Foundation



Dianne Walker - Considered a pioneer in the resurgence

of tap dancing and is one of a handful of internationally

recognized women in the field.



Sam Weber - A protege of Stan Kahn and internationally acclaimed performing artists, master teacher and choreographer.  











 Baakari Wilder - Bessie award winning hoofer from Savion Glover's Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk










Mark Yonally - Founder and Artistic Director Chicago Tap Theatre.

















Steve Zee - Has shared the stage with Gregory Hines and the Nicholas Brothers among other credits; currently on faculty at Cal State Long Beach and the Gabrielia Axeirad Education Foundation in Los Angeles.