Founded in 2015 by Pamela Allen, Erin Lee, and Kelsey Leonard, Portland Tap Alliance aims to promote the art, love, and appreciation of tap dance. We hope to expose local dancers to professional tap dancers that will enhance their technique, understanding, and appreciation; to expose the greater community to the art of tap dance; and to bring tap dance to those who are unable to afford it. We firmly believe that tap dance, through the unique creation of both music and movement, fosters community, joy, self-esteem, and confidence through artistic expression.
“Tap dancing to me, is communication. Primarily, it’s a loving way of transmitting your messages.” Jimmy Slyde
About the Founders of Portland Tap Alliance
Pamela Allen is a Pacific Northwest native and a very accomplished dancer, teacher and choreographer. She began tap dancing at the young age of 3 years old. Pamela was born into a family of dancers. Pamela’s parents were competitive ballroom dancers and her 3 other siblings were also dancers. She has a lengthy career of teaching that includes titles such as Artistic Director of Synergy Performing Company, Owner/Director of Turning Pointe Dance Academy, serving as the director of the Tri-Cities Dance Association, choreographer/instructor for Universal Dance Association, department head for the ballet, tap, and jazz departments, guest choreographer for the Academy of Children’s Theater, The Juneteenth Pageant and many more. She has also been a guest speaker across the Pacific Northwest on dance choreography, technique, and dance program development.
Pamela is one of the original Co-Founders of Beat BangerZ founded in 2010 in Portland Oregon. As a co-founder and member of Beat BangerZ, Pamela has performed internationally, sharing her passion for the percussive art form of tap. She continues to work to create opportunities to expose the communities of the Pacific Northwest to the tap art form and support talented artists who continue to do the same. Pamela is known for giving fun, inspirational and technique building classes. She currently teaches many tap classes,along with jazz, contemporary, and hip hop. Pamela has donated much of her time and choreography to other nonprofit organizations in the community furthering the exposure of dance and education of the youth.
Erin Lee got her start at Musical Feet School of Dance when she was nine. Erin fell in love with Tap Dancing and at a young age learned the history of the art form while studying the styles of Brenda Bufalino, Eleanor Borg, and the late Honi Coles. Since her childhood years Erin has taught & performed all over the Northwest and all over the world including British Colombia, Los Angeles, Guatemala & Scotland at the Fringe Arts Festival.
Erin has has shared the stage with many greats. She has produced and directed many of her own tap dance shows at various venues around Portland giving tap dancers, both young and old, opportunities to perform. Erin has had the pleasure of working with many local musicians and has been involved with the Portland National Tap Dance Day Celebration for the past 20 years. Erin has studied with Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, Brenda Bufalino, Honi Coles, Ted Levy, Jason Samuels-Smith, Chloe Arnold, Leonard Reed, Acia Gray, Linda Sohl-Ellison, Mark Mendonca, Savion Glover and many more!
In creating Portland Tap Alliance, Erin is hoping to not only bring the Portland Tap Festival back to life, but to unite tap dancers from all over the world while creating new experiences for those who are less fortunate and/or who have never thought about tap dancing. Erin wants the Tap World to grow, putting tap shoes on everyone’s feet would be a dream come true.
Kelsey started dancing at the young age of 4. She was fortunate to be exposed to the work of many of the tap dance masters through her work with Cindy Brenn in Portland, OR. She has over 10 years teaching experience, and has traveled to many tap dance festivals and master classes. At the 2014 Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival, she was selected to perform the work of tap master Brenda Bufalino. Through her travels she has been lucky to study with some of the late tap masters including Jeni LeGon and Leonard Reed, as well as the inspirational Dianne Walker, Brenda Bufalino, Sam Weber, and many others.
In 2014, Kelsey created Central Oregon Rhythm Project (CORP). The goal of the company is to promote tap dancing in central Oregon through performance, classes, and community outreach in tap dance education. CORP held it’s premier show, SoundStorm, at The Tower Theater in Bend in June 2015. The 90 minute show had 12 company dancers, four musicians, and three guest performers.
Currently, Kelsey is attending New York University. She is working towards the completion of a Masters of Art through the Gallatin graduate program. She is studying communication and expression through the music and movement of tap dance.
She is very excited to be working with Portland Tap Alliance to promote tap dancing and spread her own love and joy for it.