Tapping my Way to Freedom!

Tapping my Way to Freedom!


How is your September going? Mine’s good.

In case you were wondering, it’s impossible to practice tap dancing quietly. I know. I’ve been trying. Seriously, put your bagpipes down and listen to me.

We’ve been working hard planning the new season of Dave Kelly Live. We’re in a new home – the Bella at Mount Royal University – and we want to give people great reasons to come see us.

So we’ve been booking great guests, great music, finding great partners, all of it because we want to make it something fun, funny, moving, and entertaining for all of you.

Our October show has all of those elements and more. But if you can believe it, we’re already putting plans together for our big Christmas show at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. What plans, you wonder?

Well, as we plan each show, we always ask ourselves, “What’s going to make people say WOW?” And someone said, “What if Dave tap danced?”

A few years ago, I used to tap dance. Now, when I say “a few years ago” what I mean is “a few decades ago.” I wasn’t Gregory Hines. I wasn’t even Duncan Hines. But I did tap. A little.

How hard can it be to come back, right?

So I spent an hour with Angie Benson, the choreographer and artistic director of the Young Canadians and she gave me some steps to work on. Nothing hard, just beginner get-your-feet working stuff.

Then my friend Jim Button and I went to Home Depot and bought a 4×4 sheet of plywood and some glue. We got the plywood home by rolling down the windows and using our hands to hold it on the roof of my Jetta. I held one side with my left hand and steered with my right. Jim held his side with his right hand and shifted gears with his left. All completely safe and legal. Except for the not very safe or legal part.

Anyway, I glued some foam under the board, laid it down in the basement, dug up my shoes from decades ago – and gave it a shot.

I have to say – I was terrible. I am terrible.

But the shows haven’t started yet. I still have time.

And every day, I spend 45 minutes tap dancing. I bang and smash away on the piece of plywood and the entire house gets to enjoy it. I tell Blythe it’s practice for when the kids are teenagers and she says, “YOU MIGHT THINK THAT’S MUSIC, AND I MIGHT NOT THINK THAT‘S MUSIC, BUT EITHER WAY… TURN IT DOWN!!”

My knee is sore, I need band aids for my feet, the board it taking a beating… and it’s a gas.

This year is going to be a great year of shows – even if I need to be carried there.