Shannon Sullivan Discusses Her Inside/Out Experience

by karen Krolak

During the school year, I usually sneak in a few minutes to chat with Shannon Sullivan each Monday at Impulse Dance Center. Shannon is the Artistic Director of TAProject, an outstanding teen tap ensemble at Impulse, and she teaches the majority of tap classes at the studio. I love listening to her shuffle warm ups upstairs as I begin my modern classes. When Monkeyhouse moved our office into Springstep, I was delighted to discover that we would occasionally bump into each other before her Thursday night classes there. Her infectious attitude gave me the courage to try tap in 2008. In fact, if it didn't conflict with Your Just Desserts, I would sampling her adult class at Springstep this week.

When Connect 2 Choreography began the Save the Stage series, I remembered that Shannon had performed at Jacob's Pillow's Inside/Out stage in 2009. Knowing that the Pillow had their first tap intensive this year, I thought it would be relevant to get a tapper's perspective on the significance of this stage.

karen Krolak: When you danced at Inside/Out you were working with a relatively new company called the Commonwealth Tap Collective. What prompted you to form Commonwealth Tap Collective and how has the group evolved?

Shannon Sullivan: The Commonwealth Tap Collective is comprised of Suzanne Bouffard, Jill Braverman, Stefanie Weber and myself. We initially came together in the summer of 2008 as a group of artists who each had their own voice and vision for choreography. The group provided a medium for each of us to put work on each other and then have that work performed. Although we are currently not meeting on a regular basis, the members of the Commonwealth Tap Collective continue to create and perform outside of the group.

kK: Last summer there was so much rain and I know that it poured on the day of your performance. Did they cancel or postpone your appearance?
SS: Nope, we danced in a tent on the Great Lawn.

kK: Were there many people who were willing to watch an outdoor show on such a soggy day?
SS: Yes, and they responded favorably to our performance. From a performer’s standpoint, they were supportive, interested and engaged.

kK: That's great. So, do you think it is important to preserve Inside/Out? If so, why?
SS: I do think it’s important to preserve this stage because it’s wonderful and quite special to have a “less formal” space where both new or emerging artists as well as well-established artists can perform. The stage also provides a cost efficient place for people and families who may otherwise not be able to afford live music and dance to be able to experience these wonderful art forms.Finally, the Inside/Out Stage provides audiences with a beautiful venue that fosters education and audience involvement through their question and answer sessions following each performance.

kK: Thanks Shannon! I am excited to see you at the TAProject auditions at Impulse Dance Center on September 11th. Best of luck with Sampler Week at Springstep.

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