Background: Savion Glover is an acclaimed tap dancer who makes music with his feet. He began tap dancing at age seven, in cowboy boots. He didn't get a pair of tap shoes until five years later, when he got the lead role in the Broadway musical, "The Tap Dance Kid."
Since then, Glover has had an amazing career on-stage, on-screen, and around the world. At age of 15, he became one of the youngest males to be nominated for a Tony Award (Best Actor for "Black and Blue"). And at age 22, he won a Tony Award for Best Choreography (for "Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk," a musical revue of African American history.)
Glover has also appeared in several films including Tap, in which he got to dancealongside legendary tap dancers Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr.; and Happy Feet, in which he choreographed moves for an animated penguin named Mumble!
RIF: You call yourself a "hoofer" instead of a tap dancer. What is hoofing?
Savion Glover: While tap is a dance style; hoofing is a lifestyle. I'm a hoofer because I live and breathe tap dancing. I live the dance every second of every day—whether I'm on-stage, walking down the street, or trying on clothes in a store.
RIF: What first attracted you, and still attracts you, to tap more than any other style of dance?
SG: Tap is a means of communication for me. I can express myself through this dance; I always feel like I'm in my element when I'm tap dancing.
RIF: What was it like to win a Tony Award for Best Choreography at the age of 22 (for the musical Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk)?
SG: It felt great because hoofing was getting acknowledged and appreciated by the Broadway community. It was a win not just for me but for all of the hoofers, past and present.
RIF: How did you approach choreographing Bring in Noise, Bring in da Funk?
SG: It was collaborative effort. We'd have all the dancers and drummers in the room, and when I started something, others would join in. We had a lot of energy and we were coming up with routines every day. It was a powerful and amazing experience.
RIF: What did you think when they first contacted you to do the film, Happy Feet?
SG: I thought, "What a creative concept... a tap dancing penguin." And then I immediately said, "Great, let's do it!"
RIF: How did you approach choreographing moves for Mumble?
SG: The director wanted my style, so I was free to be myself. At one point, though, I had to be a younger Mumble so I danced more clumsily.
RIF: What was it like watching the end result?
SG: It was amazing. My 3-year-old son, Cheney, watches the movie from time to time and whenever I see it I'm like, "Wow, that's cool!"
RIF: You've performed all over the world in all kinds of settings—from Broadway to the White House. What has been your favorite performance so far?
SG: I really don't have one. I've been blessed to perform with great hoofers like Chuck Green, Gregory Hines, and Sammy Davis, Jr. So for me, every time is the best experience.
RIF: What advice do you have for kids who want to be a hoofer like you?
SG: I encourage all young people to do what you love every day. Don't wait for someone to recognize you or for the world to tell you when and how to express yourself.
Come back soon to see who the next Reading Superstar is!