Passion Projects:

“The work that I am most proud of is the work that I do in my community and the work that I do to build tap dancers and generations of tap dancers.” ~ Bril Barrett

Today’s episode brings us back to August 2018, the 9th annual celebration of Jersey Tap Fest. Part of my program with Jersey Tap Fest is a public “Tap Talk” where I invite faculty members to join me in answering questions directly from the students. I love tap talks and you can hear more about why I love them in Episode 12.

This excerpt of our Tap Talk features Mark Orsborn, Justin Myles, Bril Barrett and myself speaking on our personal projects: what inspired us to create them, how we manage them and all the ways that we’re passionate about tap dance outside of teaching and performing.

At the time of this recording, both Mark and Justin were fresh off of NBC’s World of Dance with the JAM Project and is currently on tour with Tap Dogs. Bril Barrett is the founder of M.A.D.D. Rhythms (Making A Difference Dancing). M.A.D.D. Rhythms is a Chicago-based tap dance company which has served as a training ground for some of today’s great tap dance artists as well as an outreach program and tap academy for dancers of all ages.

What are your Passion Projects?

Mark Orsborn (3:48)

Justin and Mark work together on The JAM Project (the professional company) and the JAM Youth Project (the pre-professional youth company) in addition to JAM Camp.

Given the recent exposure of being on a nationally televised dance show, Mark’s biggest project at the moment is the professional adult company, The JAM Project. NBC’s World of Dance has opened up a lot of doors and expanded their brand in a way nothing else could and as a result, they are fielding a lot of opportunity requests.

Justin Myles (5:57)

Justin’s projects include a wide array of his passions, including tap, guitar, singing, and sound engineering. He’s inspired by Nicholas Van Young, who has developed an entire show using synthesizers. Justin also does all of the sound design for The JAM Project, where he’s challenged with how to make a tap shoe sound like a tap shoe on a video, authentically.

Bril Barrett (9:34)

Bril created M.A.D.D. Rhythms to serve as a solution to several problems.

1: Violence in underprivileged communities in Chicago.

  1. To bridge the gap between dance schools and his professional company.

In Chicago, you hear a lot about the “school to prison pipeline,” and Bril wanted to create an alternative “school to professional” pipeline using tap dance. Everything that Bril does falls into that pipeline of creating dancers from the beginning all the way through professional.

Hillary-Marie (15:05)

My list of projects include Jersey Tap Fest, Grooves Unlimited Dance Studio, FutureSTEP Tap Company, Hillary-Marie’s Sole Music Collective, iTapOnline and my solo touring career.

A Chance to Cross Paths (16:52)

Mark is currently organizing performances for The JAM Project and working on setting up JAM Camp, happening August 2019 in the DC area. Justin is currently on tour with Tap Dogs, and Bril is in Chicago repping all things M.A.D.D. Rhythms.

What are YOUR Passion Projects? (17:20)

Please tell me about your passion projects! Have you started them or are you still in the brainstorming stages? You can comment in the show notes of this episode or post in the iTapOnline Community Facebook group. Please comment and share your thoughts. I always write you back!

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