Tap for the manly man

  • 2007-02-14
  • Joel Alas
TALLINN - For three days in February, the Linnahall will resonate with the sounds of thumping work boots and clanging construction material. Sturdy workmen in hardhats will fill the arena, oozing sweat and machismo. Don't be deceived 's the Linnahall won't be undergoing a renovation, although it badly needs one.

Rather, it will play host to one of the most popular dance productions of recent years 's- "Tap Dogs".
The concept of "Tap Dogs" was born in the Australian industrial city of Newcastle, a smoky steel mill town north of Sydney, home to an army of blue-collar workers.

It was here that the original tap dog Dein Perry began his career as a construction worker. In the early 90s he moved to Sydney to create a dance performance that incorporated the hard-edged elements of his upbringing.
His cast of six macho men wear flannel shirts, jeans, hard hats and elastic-sided boots with metal welded to the soles.
Their set resembles a construction site, with scaffolds, sheet metal, ropes, beams and hooks.
There's a loose storyline between the pounding dance routines, although the plot is secondary to the impressive footwork and thundering rhythm.

Since then, the show has toured hundreds of cities worldwide, with sell-out seasons on Broadway and West End.
The dance troupe gained worldwide attention when they starred in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, a stellar theatrical event that was watched by millions of viewers across the globe.
The story of "Tap Dogs" was even captured in a film in 2001. The movie "Bootmen" was critically panned but helped the concept reach an even wider audience.

In fact, while the show has proven to be a huge hit with the public, dance critics have given it an icy reception. It breaks all the conventional rules of dance, sacrificing traditional elements of class and finesse to chase the wow factor.
The show has also been accused of being overly jocular, with some critics accusing it of going too far to redress the balance of masculinity in the world of dance.
But that hasn't stopped audiences flocking to watch the six steely men clang their way through their 75-minute routine.
The Estonian promoters are so sure of the show's popularity that they've booked the large Linnahall auditorium for three consecutive nights.

Tickets are now on sale for between 250 kroons for the nosebleed section and 595 kroons for prime position.
And perhaps the Tap Dogs could have a look at the crumbling concrete work while they're at the Linnahall? We all know how hard it is to find a good handyman in Estonia, after all.

Tap Dogs
Feb 22, 23, 24, 7pm
Linnahall, 20 Mere Pst.
250 to 595 kroon
Info: www.muusikal.ee/tapdogs
Tickets: www.piletilevi.ee