2017 Faculty

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Dianne Walker

Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, a pioneer in tap dancing’s resurgence, has a 40 year career spanning Broadway, Television, Film and International Jazz Concerts and Tap Festivals. Savion Glover and his contemporaries affectionately call her, “Aunt Dianne”, acknowledging her unique role as mentor, teacher and confidante. Dianne performed in both the original Paris Production of Black and Blue as well as the Broadway Production, where she was a featured dancer, Dance Captain and Assistant to the Directors. Film credits include the movie Tap, the PBS special, Great Performances: Tap Dance in America,  JUBA! (WTTW), and Songs Unwritten. Dianne has been dubbed the “Ella Fitzgerald” of Tap Dance.

For two years, Dianne directed the Tap Program at Jacobs Pillow and is presently Artistic Advisor to the Program. Holding a Master’s degree in Education, Dianne has taught at numerous universities including Harvard, MIT, Wesleyan, Bates, UCLA, and Williams College. Dianne is a participant on many educational task forces, and sits on numerous boards throughout the dance community. In 1998, Dianne received the “Living Treasure in American Dance” Award from Oklahoma City University, The Flo-Bert Award (NYC), The Hoofers Award (NYC), The Gregory Hines Humanitarian Award (Los Angeles), and was the 2008 USA Rose Fellow. Most recently, Dianne received the prestigious Dance Magazine Award, presented to her at the Alvin Ailey School in New York, adding to a long line of awards and lifetime tributes recognizing her contribution to the art form and excellence in teaching. Grant awards include The National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Jacobs Pillow, The New England Foundation for the Arts, and American Masterpieces Program.

Dianne has been generously mentored by many musicians and Tap Dance legends throughout her career, notably Leon Collins and Jimmy Slyde. Dianne has worked with  Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, Honi Coles, Cholly Atkins, Tina Pratt, Bunny Briggs, Barry Harris, Max Roach, Alan Dawson, Major Holley, Paul Arslanian, Andy McGhee, John Lockwood, Ruth Brown, Nicholas Brothers, Peg Leg Bates, Arthur Duncan and many others. Leon Collins passed away in l985, leaving Dianne to continue as one of the Directors of his school in Boston. It is with a great sense of pride that Dianne continues to share this rich legacy with her students.

Dianne’s Classes:

3-day residency: Ages 18+, Intermediate, Friday 3:30-5:30 Saturday/Sunday 2:50-4:50pm



Brenda Bufalino


Recognized throughout the world as a leading exponent and innovator in the tap world, Ms. Bufalino performs, lectures, and teaches master classes and workshops throughout the United States, Germany, Italy, England, France, Israel and Australia. She has appeared as a guest soloist in such prestigious arenas as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, The Apollo Theater, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Smithsonian Institute and the Kennedy Center.
Ms. Bufalino performed in concert with the late Charles “Honi” Coles, touring America, England and France. They also choreographed “The Morton Gould Tap Concerto” and performed the Concerto with the Brooklyn and Norwalk Symphony. Ms. Bufalino has also performed the Concerto solo with The Detroit Symphony and The Hudson Valley Philharmonic.

A trailblazer in the renaissance of jazz and tap dance, she has been one of the guiding forces in the creation of numerous Tap Festivals, Summits, and Reunions. In 1986, in order to develop her choreographic concepts of tap fugues and counter rhythms, she created The American Tap Dance Orchestra. In 1989 Ms. Bufalino, Tony Waag and the ATDO created Woodpeckers Tap Dance Center in Soho, producing classes, workshops and performances featuring both National and International tap artists.

She has been awarded numerous National Endowment Fellowships and is a NYFA Fellow. Ms. Bufalino has been honored by the Tap Community in New York City and Boston with the prestigious “Flobert Award” for outstanding achievement, and “The Tapestry Award” for her contributions to the field of tap dance. Her biography appears in several editions of “Who’s Who in American Women,” and she recently wrote her own book entitled “Tapping the Source”.

Brenda’s Classes:

3-day residency: Advanced, Friday 3:30-5:30 & Saturday/Sunday 2:50-4:50pm



Ted Louis Levy

Ted Levy, tap dancer and Broadway performer and choreographer, was born Ted Lewis Levy ion April 25, 1960, in Chicago, Illinois. His mother was a chorus dancer at the famed black-owned Club DeLisa.. He was trained at an early age by Shirley Hall Bass and Finis Henderson II, master tap dancer and former manager of Sammy Davis Jr. Henderson encouraged Ted to pursue a professional career in the performing arts, which began at The Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Levy was “discovered” by Dianne Walker and members of the Copasetics when they performed in the 1985 Chicago production Shoot Me While I’m Happy. He made his Broadway debut in the musical Black and Blue (1989), in which he was a featured dancer in “Butter and Egg Man,” choreographed by Fayard Nicholas. The musical megahit won a number of Tony Awards, including one for its four choreographers– Cholly Atkins, Henry LeTang, Frankie Manning, and Nicholas.

On television, Levy was awarded an Emmy for his television debut performance in the PBS special Precious Memories, and in 1992 made his film debut in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X. That same year saw the production of Ted Levy and Friends, which included Gregory Hines (who directed), Savion Glover, and Jimmy Slyde, among others. He then collaborated with George C. Wolfe and Gregory Hines on the choreography for the Broadway production of Jelly’s Last Jam, for which he received a Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination, and Outer Critics Circle Award.

Influenced by Hines, Levy made his directorial debut in 1994 as director of Savion Glover’s Dancing Under the Stars at the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Delacorte Theater. As a versatile theater artist skilled in acting, sing, and tap dancing, Levy directed the workshop production of Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. When that show, directed by George C. Wolfe, became a smash hit, with a planned move to Broadway in 1996, Levy was charged with recruiting and training young dancers in Savion Glover’s hard-hitting rhythm-tap style. In February 1997, eight male students were enrolled in the first three-month course in which Levy taught them the rhythm-tapping styles of such masters as Lon Chaney, Chuck Green, and Jimmy Slyde, who had described the tradition as “the art of sound.”

Ted appeared in the movie Bojangles with Gregory Hines, and returned to Broadway as Papa Jack in Susan Stroman & Harry Connick Jr.’s Thou Shalt Not. Ted portrayed the role of The Mikado in The Ford Theater’s production of The Hot Mikado, for which he won a Helen Hayes Award. Ted’s most recent accomplishments include appearing in Fly, the story of the Tuskegee Airmen; Sammy, the Leslie Bricusse musical about the life of Sammy Davis Jr.; and a 2011 Joseph Jefferson nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a musical. In 2015 Ted was a leading figure in the film documentary Tap World, directed by Dean Hargrove. He continues to be a mentor to this new generation of tap dance artists.

Ted’s Classes:

Intermediate, Saturday, 5:00 – 6:30pm

Advanced, Sunday, 10:35am-12:05pm

Advanced Beginner, Sunday, 12:10-1:40pm


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Terry Brock

Terry Brock has a diverse background  which includes multiple choreographic works and an international performing career.  She has performed and taught at tap festivals worldwide,  from New York City, through Canada and Europe,  and is currently artistic adviser for the Vancouver Tap Society,   BC Canada.  The 2010 Winter Olympics   featured Terry’s Canadian tap students in the opening ceremony viewed by millions worldwide.

She has shared the stage with legendary stars including Gregory Hines,  The Nicholas Brothers,  Ben Vereen, and Shirley MacLaine to name a few.  Terry has choreographed and performed with the famous Duke Ellington’s son,  Mercer Ellington,  and has created repertory for the Oregon Symphony and appeared with the San Francisco and Seattle symphonies.  Terry is regarded as one of the leading female tap contemporaries today, having been honored at U.C.L.A along with her idols Eleanor Powell and Ginger Rogers. Terry is also the conservator of Miss Powell’s choreography,  and is the chosen recipient of “Ellie’s”  tap shoes and travel trunk.

Terry’s Classes:

Adv. Beginner, Saturday 5:00-6:30pm


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Derick Grant

Derick K. Grant (Performer, Chreographer, Director) has an established career that spans over three decades. Under the direction of two time Tony Award winning director George C. Wolfe, he was an original company member and Dance Captain for Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk at both The Public Theater and on Broadway and also starred in the role of ‘da beat for the first National Tour of Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk. He created the critically acclaimed show Imagine Tap!and was appointed as the Co-Artistic Director of Chicago Human Rhythm Project’sRhythm World Summer Festival.

Mr. Grant was the recipient of the Princess Grace Award for Upcoming Young Artist, The Helen Hayes Award (Washington D.C.) for Outstanding Featured Actor as well as two additional for his role in Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk.  Mr. Grant also received two Los Angeles Ovation Awards for choreography and for best Ensemble performance in Noise/Funk, and was most recently recognized for Best Choreography for Imagine Tap! He was also nominated for the Lester Horton Dance Award for Best Male Performance from the Dance Resource Center of Los Angeles.

Choreography and performance credits include The Apollo Theatre’s Get On The Good Foot (James Brown Tribute) local and national tour; The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ AFRICAN ODYSSEY program (EXPRESIONES LATINAS Festival); Opening number for Daniela Mercury with Brazilian artist Nego Gato; The Aaron Davis Hall Black History Month Celebration; The Queens Symphony Opera’s DUKE ELLINGTON CONCERT, Ann Arbor’s ARTS FESTIVAL; The Embassy in Portugal; THE CONNECTICUT BALLET COMPANY’s celebration of MEN IN DANCE with Brett Raphael; and as a special guest artist with The Jazz Tap Ensemble. Mr. Grant’s own production of the history of tap, A NIGHT OUT: TAP! toured the country successfully for three months. Mr. Grant also joined Mr. in Yonkers, NY, Vermont and Boston. He also appeared with violinist Sa-Idah for a tribute commemorating The Colonial African Heritage’s African Burial Ground Reinterment produced by the Schomburg Center

Derick’s Classes:

Advanced: Saturday 9:00 – 10:30 am

Advanced Beginner: Saturday 12:10 – 1:40 pm

Intermediate: Sunday 10:35 – 12:05 pm



Joseph Webb


Joseph Monroe Webb is an international award winning dancer, choreographer, actor, educator and poet who has showcased his talents in a number of performances throughout the years, including the Tony Award winning Broadway production, Bring in ‘Da Noise Bring in ‘Da Funk. Following his Broadway success, Webb ventured into acting in television and film, including Martin Scorsese’s film Bringing Out The Dead, Black Nativity starring Angela Basset and Forest Whitaker, a short film by Red Bull Academy Music NYC, and more. He has also performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Live with Regis and Kathy Lee. Joseph was recently cast as a principal in a short Morningstar Farms documentary, released May 2016. On September 11, 2016, Joseph completed a six-week run of Tony Award winning Broadway musical Jelly’s Last Jam at the Signature Theatre to critical acclaim.

Joseph has appeared as a feature and/or starring act in the cast of the Thank You Gregory, Tap Stars (Hamburg, Germany), Cotton Club Parade with Wynton Marsalis, and more. Joseph received raves reviews for his first major work at University Settlement, with the NY Times citing Joseph and his ability to blend various genres of art into one show as, “too hard to categorize, but there is no doubt he is a natural star.” In March 2016, Joseph returned to University Settlement (NYC) to debut the premiere of his latest work, Dancing Buddhas: The Three Jewels, to a sold out audience. Joseph is excited to continue developing part II and III of this dance-theatre series with the Dancing Buddhas professional dance company. When he is not onstage, Joseph choreographs for various dance organizations, including his pre-professional youth tap company, House of Tap. Joseph is the founder and director of American Embassy of Dance, a dance school specializing in percussive dance in Washington, DC. http://www.jwebbmedia.com.

Joseph’s Classes:

Intermediate: Saturday, 12:10 – 1:40pm

Advanced: Saturday, 5:00 – 6:30 pm

Advanced Beginner: 9:00 – 10:30 am



Sarah Reich

Sarah Reich has emerged as one of the new leaders in the Art Form of Tap Dance. At the young age of 15, this Los Angeles native was featured in Dance Spirit Magazine’s article, “20 Hot Tappers Under 20” and was named one of the “25 To Watch” in the 2009 Dance Magazine article. Ever since, Sarah has been sought after to perform, choreograph, and teach in over 40 countries. 

Sarah is currently on tour with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox as the featured tap dancer. Previously she was seen on Season 11 of FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance with Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies and Season 8 with Jason Samuels Smith’s, A.C.G.I. With her own company, Tap Music Project, she has choreographed and performed at the Ford Amphitheatre, UCLA’s JazzReggae Festival, Blue Whale, and the LA County Holiday Celebration. Sarah was also a performer at Madison Square Garden for the opening of the NY Knicks 2013-2014 season.

 In addition to her vast international travels and countless television appearances, Sarah has had the honor to perform at some of the most prestigious venues back home in Los Angeles such as The Hollywood Bowl, the Ford Amphitheatre, the Greek Theater with Mexican Pop-Star, Cristian Castro and the Kodak Theater with the great Herbie Hancock.

Sarah’s Classes:

Advanced: Sunday, 12:10-1:40pm

Advanced Beginner: Sunday 2:50-4:20


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Jessie Sawyers

Jessie is a visual musician, a multidisciplinary tap dance artist, a creator, and a force of positivity whose vibrant expression flows across visual and performing arts, writing, education, and social entrepreneurship.

Her artistic sophistication and technical ability, coupled with a love of human diversity and conscious connection, has propelled her around the globe. Thus far, Jessie has traveled across 6 continents to over 12 countries in conjunction with her humanitarian project, Music of Humankind, as well as on faculty at numerous dance and music festivals.

Jessie had the privilege to train with many of the late tap greats before they passed away, including Dr. Cholly Atkins, Dr. Jimmy Slyde, and Dr. Fayard Nicholas among others. Her first professional work was as the Seattle-based seafood restaurant Ivar’s tap dancing clam mascot in commercials and appearances. This gig helped finance her continued studies as a young dancer and lasted 7 years, carrying over into her first two years at the University of Washington where she received an education in Business.

She has been on faculty at numerous International Tap Dance Festivals including Australia, Brazil, Calgary, and Vancouver; has been commissioned as both a director and choreographer for the Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival; frequently assists Dianne Walker in passing on the Leon Collins body of work; and was a principal dancer with Tapestry Dance Company in Austin, TX, in 2014 for their 25th season.

Jessie’s artistic expression is incredibly melodic, powerfully rhythmic, graceful, and exudes a deep love for improvised music collaboration.

Jessie’s Classes:

Improvisation (with Danny Nielsen) Friday, 5:35-7:05pm

Advanced Beginner, Saturday, 9:00-10:30am

Advanced, Saturday, 10:35-12:05pm

Intermediate, Sunday, 9:00-10:30am

Jessie will also be assisting all of Dianne Walker’s Classes


Danny Nielsen

Danny Nielsen is originally from Calgary, AB, he began his rhythm tap career as a founding member of MADD Rhythms Canada under the direction of Lisa La Touche. In his hometown, Danny was hired by the highly regarded jazz company Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, which lead to having fea- tured choreographies in their productions of Tinge and Tone and 25.

In 2010, Danny became the ‘Artist in Residence’ with the Vancouver Tap Society. He held the posi- tion for 2 years, directing the boys program, the girls program, and youth ensemble Tap Co with the Society. During his time in Vancouver, Danny was a part of many productions including A Chronological Life Story of a Few Tap Dancers with Matt Shields and Travis Knights, Stark Pulsewith Jessie Sawyers, and the original tap dancer in the creation of Taps and Twang with the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble. In the spring of 2012, Danny was the recipient of the Santa Aloi Award from the Scotiabank Dance Centre. He later used that grant to create and direct his first full length production Love.Be.Best.Free.

In his time in Vancouver, Danny emerged onto the international tap scene, making his presence felt in Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Chicago, Mexico, Seattle and all over Canada. He has taught for distinguished dance festivals and conventions such as the Zurich Tap Festival, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Triple Threat, DC Tap Fest, and Brasil Tap Jazz to name a few. Television credits include the worldwide broadcast of the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies and the open- ing number for the 2008 Jerry Lewis Telethon choreographed by Chloe Arnold in Las Vegas, NV.

Danny’s Classes:

Advanced Beginner, Friday, 3:30-5:00pm

Improvisation (with Jessie Sawyers), Friday, 5:35-7:05pm

Advanced, Saturday, 12:10-1:40

Intermediate, Sunday, 12:10-1:40



Charles Renato

Charles Renato was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He began tap dancing at the age of 6 years old at CBS (Brazilian Tap company) located in Sao Jose dos Campos. At 14 he began teaching tap dance that lead to him win awards all over Brazil. He has won awards for Best Dancer at the Joinville Dance Festival, the biggest festival in the world by the Guinness Book of Record. Charles has also won the TV Globo challenge show (2009 & 2010).

In 2008 Charles joined the cast of “Sinatra Blue Eyes” the musical in Lisbon, Portugal. Renato was also a member of the “KS Tap Company” which is responsible for bringing together highly sought after teachers from all over Brazil to perform. Charles spends his free time giving workshops and choreographing for many tap companies through out Brazil and America. He was invited to teach at the LA Tap Fest, DC Tap Fest, Rhythm World produced by Chicago Human Rhythm Project and most recently North Carolina Tap Festival.

Charles Renato was invited to produce and create a section in one of the most prestigious event in Brazil called Carnaval. Since then he has been nominated for best choreographer of Desterro festival and Festidança in Brazil that has lead up to him teaching in America. Most recently he moved to NYC and has been working with Apt 33 directed by Chloe Arnold and performed with Michelle Dorrance and Dorrance Dance.

Renato has also recently been directing the Metropolitan Youth Tap Ensemble (MYTE), and teaching at Metropolitan School of Arts in Virginia. He also directed Apt 33’s new video “I’m not afraid” choreographed by Chloe Arnold. Since he moved to NYC he has been teaching at Broadway Dance Center and Steps On Broadway.

Charles’ Classes:
Intermediate, Saturday, 9:00-10:30am
Advanced Beginner, Saturday, 10:35-12:05pm
Advanced, Sunday, 9:00-10:30am
Advanced Beginner, Sunday, 10:35-12:05

Featured Portland Teacher:


Karida Griffith

Karida Griffith (Performer, Instructor, Choreographer) is a Portland native who has established an extensive dance career in New York. A student of the one and only Sally Mack, Karida’s dance career took off when she was cast in the European tour of the Broadway hit Black and Blue, working with the great Henry LeTang, Dianne Walker, Bunny Briggs, Germaine Goodson, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and others.

After completing her business degree at NYU, Karida became a Radio City Rockette, where she performed in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Sinatra, on The Today Show and The Tony Awards. Karida was also a dancer for Cirque du Soleil, and was a featured dancer in multiple episodes of the HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire.

Currently a member of the critically-acclaimed tap dance company Dorrance Dance, Karida was also honored to be a member of select companies including the Cotton Club Sophisticated Ladies with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, T.A.D.A.H. with Jared Grimes, Mable Lee’s Ladies, Barbara Duffy & Company, and has also performed with Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies. In addition, Karida was the producer of Creations: Choreographic Introductions, which featured her own choreography along with early works of Dana Foglia, Mishay Petronelli, Chloe Arnold, Michelle Dorrance and Claudia Rahardjanoto,.

Karida has been on the tap dance faculty at the renowned Broadway Dance Center in New York, and a Professor in Pace University’s cutting-edge BFA Commercial Dance program. She has taught at festivals and conventions throughout North America.

Based again in Portland, Karida is the founder of the annual PDX Tap Intensive, is a performing artist for Young Audiences of Oregon, and a member of the West African Dance Company, Sebe Kan. As she has for the past 16 years, Karida continues to work with the The Children’s Theatre Company, a non-profit organization which fosters the belief that, through the arts, children can become agents of positive change and healing in the world.

Karida’s Classes:

Advanced Beginner: Friday 5:35 – 7:05 pm

Intermediate: Saturday 10:35 am – 12:05 pm