CLAYTON, MO. (KPLR) – Robert L. Reed likes to talk the talk…and also tap the tap.
‘It’s the rhythm, you know what I’m saying,’ says St. Louis Tap Festival Founder Robert L. Reed.
‘It’s about creating. You can create rhythms. No two hoofers are alike.’
And learning to lead with your feet is a great feat in and of itself.
‘We came from the ghetto,’ says Reed. ‘Not the ghetto, the get-toe! That’s where we came from and it pulled us out of there.’
When you hear there’s a tap festival in St. Louis, Missouri, you’d expect a lot of ale.
And while there’s no beer in here, reed’s class will definitely burn those calories.
‘It’s the movement, it’s the music, it’s how you can make your own beat and listen to the beat and just move with it,’ says Chris Shepard.
Those in tip top shape brought their tap shoes to this lesson at the Sheraton Clayton plaza hotel.
Most are rap tap tapping into town this week for this festival that reed started 22 years ago.
‘Because people said I couldn’t,’ says Reed. ‘You know how we are in St. Louis; tell us we can’t do anything. That’s the biggest dare in the world and I wanted to bring the art of tap dance to the Midwest.’
This week he’ll hold classes, workshops and a tap jam on Wednesday night, free and open to all.
‘Is there such a thing as a person with two left feet,’ asks Patrick Clark.
‘No,’ says Reed. ‘No there is not.’
Those who heed his heel toe method of movement were benefiting from reed’s extensive resume on Broadway, film and television.
‘The most important thing he has taught me is don’t embarrass him,’ says Shepard. ‘Don’t embarrass him and don’t give up.’
So how hard is the old’ soft shoe?
‘You’re like a quick learner, you learn very quickly,’ says Reed. ‘Is that true?’
‘Sure, ‘says Clark. ‘Yes.’
And with that, we’re off.
The sensei and student, stepping in rhythm.
Well, not me of course.
I’ll stick to storytelling.