June 2–4, 2017

Toronto International Tap Dance Festival

Co-produced by Toffan Rhythm Projects and Harbourfront Centre



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  • Details
  • Master classes
  • Artistic Director
  • Performers

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Arthur Duncan will no longer be performing on June 3, 2017. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Experience the wide range in how the best of tap lives today during a three day festival.

International headlining acts Heather Cornell and Ted Louis Levy represent opposite ends of tap’s spectrum – one being the music, the other accompanied by it in full force. New choreographic debuts from local commissioned artists will be opening both shows. To end the festival, we celebrate the local scene through a night of open tap improvisation and live music.

The festival also includes masterclasses with festival artists and a series of panel discussions. 

What The Ear Sees
Friday, June 2, 8pm, Fleck Dance Theatre

Featuring Making Music Dance (NYC), headed by Canadian Tap Dance icon Heather Cornell dubbed “The Oscar Peterson of hoofing” (Globe and Mail). An evening of unexpected cross pollination, Making Music Dance includes African balafon, violin, classical guitar, and highlights the musicianship of percussive dance by including tap and flamenco as the band’s only percussion.

The evening will open with two commissions.

Singin’ and Swingin’
Saturday, June 3, 8pm, Fleck Dance Theatre

Featuring Emmy Award winner Ted Louis Levy, one of America’s premier tap dance artist performing on Broadway in such works as Jelly’s Last Jam for which he and Gregory Hines received a 1992 Tony Nomination for choreography.

The Jam, hosted by Rhythm & Sound
Sunday, June 4, 8pm, Brigantine Room

Experience what Toronto’s tap scene has to offer! Rhythm & Sound leads a set including live music, improvisation, choreography, and special guests. Then the floor is yours – bring your shoes, call your tune, and dance! The next set is a jam packed improvising party, where all ages and levels are welcome to take the stage.

For more information, visit toffanrhythmprojects.com

Always dreamed of being a tap dancer? Don’t miss your chance to take a master class with the Toronto International Tap Dance Festival headliners.

Friday, June 2
Master class for professionals with Ted Louis Levy
Register now

Saturday, June 3
Master class for professionals with Making Music Dance, lead by Heather Cornell
Register now!

Just added!
Saturday, June 3
Advanced/Professionals Workshop with Peru’s Antonio Vilchez
Register now!

Sunday, June 4
All-ages tap class with Ted Louis Levy
Register now!

Sunday, June 4
Commissioned Artist Workshop Series
Register now!

Proudly based in Toronto for over a decade, Allison Toffan has been busy stirring up momentum in the Canadian tap dance community. Recognized by multiple arts councils, she has been awarded numerous grants as an emerging dance artist, developing musician, choreographer, and producer. Her mentors include world-renowned tap dance artists Heather Cornell, Brenda Bufalino, and Max Pollak.

Career highlights include: eight years as a principle dancer with Turn on The Tap (Paula Skimin), featured tap dancer at the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, Warehouse 13 Series Finale (Jeff Dimitriou), Festival Dance Encore (Tasha Lawson), TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival, TapCity’s Tap Internationals (Lisa La Touche, NYC), Montreal Tap Festival’s Rhythm Lives! – with living legend Arthur Duncan, and establishing the Toronto Rhythm Initiative – a platform Allison created to voice the artistry of Toronto’s tap dancers in collaboration with live music.

Teaching credits include Artist in Residence – Ottawa Rhythm Initiative, Dance Faculty at Sheridan College, Randolph Academy, Montreal Tap Festival, Vancouver International Tap Festival, BC Performing Arts Festival, Manitoba Dance Festival, as well as multiple workshops across Canada.

Over the past few years Allison ‘s work was featured in Toronto’s Body Percussion Festival, she performed in Lisa’s La Touche’s world premiere of Hold On, has been on two multi-city US tours with The StepCrew, is a contributing artist with Anandam Dancetheatre, and created The Big Band Tap Revue in collaboration with Toronto Jazz Orchestra’s Artistic Director Josh Grossman and co-producer Soraya Peerbaye, directed by Emmy Award winner and tap dance icon Ted Louis Levy.

Stepping into the role of artistic director, Allison is thrilled to bring the vision of the Toronto International Tap Dance Festival to fruition this June, produced in partnership with Harbourfront Centre. The inaugural festival marks the official launch of Allison’s production company: Toffan Rhythm Projects, bridging the goals, mandates, and facilitation of her professional body of work rooted in collaboration, creation, curation, and community.


Making Music Dance celebrates the rich and broad tonalities inherent in the worlds of tap and flamenco. Think of the texture of sand dance, of wood on wood, and castanets as being the driving percussive force behind the music and you’ll understand a bit of the uniqueness of our approach. Add to that the trance-like drive of African balafon, the ethereal phrasing of electric violin and the contrasting stylings of guitar, and you get a brand new take on world music! The fun is in celebrating the differences within the zone of intersection.

Members of Making Music Dance have been playing together for 15 years in various groups and projects. Since 2012, they’ve been collaborating and celebrating the rich tonalities that they all bring to the project, playing with redefining the roles and relationships between musicians and dancers. The true meaning of eclectic, they span 4 generations and come from diverse stylistic backgrounds in music and dance: African, Jazz, South American, Reggae, Tap and Flamenco. They use ancient and modern cultural traditions and genres, creating new compositional avenues.

Artistic Director of Making Music Dance
Heather Cornell,
who’s work is described as “visual music” by NY Times, creates ensembles where she functions as the percussionist. Her current project, Making Music Dance released their first CD in November 2015. TapMotif in Lefkada, Greece was her laboratory for 8 seasons, where she trained free-thinking “bilingual” artists in music and dance. CanTap, features Canada’s finest tap dancers and musicians for evenings of new approaches to improvisation. As artistic director for Manhattan Tap, one of the busiest music/dance companies in the world in the 80’s and 90’s, she was known as a mover and shaker of the tap dance renaissance. She was recently awarded a national co-commission from New Music USA. As a soloist, she recently performed for a sold out 1,200 seat crowd in Bogota, Colombia, performing an improvised evening with local musicians. Heather trained directly with the first generation tap masters, and has taught and inspired three generations of tap dancers, musicians and actors internationally. She is a pioneer of concert tap and, beginning in the mid 80’s, has led the scene in using tap as a musical instrument. With an extensive list of awards, honors and credits, please visit manhattantap.org to learn more about her legacy and contributions to the form.

Ted Louis Levy
Ted’s professional training began in Chicago with Mrs. Shirley Hall Bass and Mr. Finis Henderson II, master tap dancer and former manager of Sammy Davis Jr. Mr. Henderson encouraged Ted to pursue a professional career in the performing arts, which began at The Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.

Mr. Levy made his Broadway debut in the smash hit Black & Blue. He collaborated with George C. Wolfe and Gregory Hines on the Choreography of Jelly’s Last Jam, for which he received Tony and Drama Desk nominations and was awarded the 1993 Outer Critics Circle Award. 

Ted was awarded an Emmy Award for his television debut performance in the PBS Special Precious Memories, and appeared in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X for his film debut. His production of Ted Levy and Friends, directed by Gregory Hines, celebrated Ted as one of America’s premier tap dance artists. Influenced by Mr. Hines, Ted acquired his directorial debut as Director of Savion Glover’s, Dancing Under The Stars at the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Delacorte Theater. He also assisted in the choreography of Broadway’s Tony Award winning hit Bring In ‘Da Noise! Bring In ‘Da Funk!

Ted appeared in the movie Bojangles with Gregory Hines, returning to Broadway as Papa Jack in Susan Stroman & Harry Conick Jr.’s Thou Shalt Not. Ted portrayed the roll of The Mikado in The Ford Theater’s production of The Hot Mikado. For which he won a Helen Hayes Award. Ted’s most recent accomplishments include appearing in Fly, the story of The Tuskegee Airmen, Sammy, the Leslie Bricusse musical about the life of Sammy Davis Jr. and a 2011 Joseph Jefferson Nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a musical.

Commissioned Artists

Paula Skimin is a multifaceted dancer, choreographer, adjudicator and educator trained in jazz, ballet and tap. She founded the Toronto based tap dance company Turn On The Tap in 1997. As artistic director Paula produced many productions featuring original scores, collaborating with various mediums fusing her art form making her a progressive performance artist.

Her teaching has reached dancers throughout Canada and the US. She has worked as a Principal Artist with Learning Through The Arts, an education program associated with the Royal Conservatory of Music, spent ten years as a faculty member at Sheridan College in the Musical Theatre Program, with SERC a research centre for creative aging, and taught workshops at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education associated with the University of Toronto. Paula now lives in Vancouver BC and is currently teaching tap dance and Pilates.

Montreal native, Travis Knights, caught the dancing bug at the age of 10. At 16, he was cast as a principal dancer in the motion picture biography of Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, featuring Gregory Hines and Savion Glover, choreographed by Henry LeTang.

In 2006, he earned the spot as the principal tap dancer in the video game adaptation of Warner Brother’s ‘Happy Feet’.  In ’07- ’08, he participated extensively as a Tap Dance consultant for Cirque du Soleil in Montreal.  

Travis was a featured tap dancer in the Opening Ceremonies to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, and in the same year, worked on his bark and bite with the touring Australian Tap Dance show, Tap Dogs.

From 2010 to 2013, Travis jumped into the dance company world as a principal dancer with Tapestry Dance Company in Austin, Texas.  During his time there he was awarded the Austin Critic’s Table Award for best dance artist in 2011 and 2013.  In 2014, he embarked on a self-produced world tour, and began filming his web series entitled ‘The Interviews’ featuring perspectives from celebrated pioneers in the tap dance world. In 2015, he debuted new works in Thomas Marek’s show NOLA in Hamburg, Germany.

Travis currently lives in Toronto, Canada, records a weekly podcast (download the Tap Love Tour Podcast on iTunes) and recently debuted a YouTube variety show called ‘Midnight’ (available on the Tap Love Tour youtube channel). Look out for him, because the best is yet to come.

Dianne Montgomery works as choreographer, dancer and instructor.  She has presented her work as a choreographer in the United States and Canada, and has danced throughout North America and Europe.

She has performed with tap companies Turn On the Tap (Paula Skimin, Artistic Director) and T.O. Tap (Marion Hopkins, Artistic Director) and has worked in jazz clubs with musicians Alex Pangman, Kevin Clark and Sophia Perlman as an improvising soloist. She has tap danced on several music albums, including those of Paul Moran, Jimmy Dowling, Michael Martins and Carey West, and has recently been asked to collaborate on a full length program with Ron Davis’ Symphronica.

Dianne toured the world for two years with Canadian singer-songwriter FEIST as a tap dancer and shadow puppeteer. She also appeared as a member of Feist’s backing choir on Saturday Night LiveThe Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. She has performed as a shadow puppeteer on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. She has performed in prestigious concert venues across North America and Europe, including Massey Hall, Royal Albert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.

Johnathan Morin is one of Canada’s finest tap dancers on the scene today. Born and raised in Edmonton, he has been sought out internationally to perform and teach.  Most recently he co-produced “Rhythm and Sound” with Cori Giannotta which had two sold out shows at the TDC Studio Theatre. In 2015, he was faculty at Tapperfest and the Eastern Canadian Tap Conference in Mississauga. In 2014, he was on faculty and performed at the Vancouver Tap Dance Festival as a principle role in Danny Nielsen’s Love. Be. Best. Free. Previously he made his presence felt in the United States performing with Lisa La Touche’s Tap Phonics at Tap City’s  TapInternationals  in New York In 2013. Other accolades include 2010 cutting contest champion at the Vancouver International Tap Festival, and a finalist in the fourth season of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Johnathan Now lives in Toronto, working as a choreographer, and teaches all around the GTA.