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Herbin “Tamango” Van Cayseele, known as one of the most musical tap artists worldwide, and his Urban Tap performers will present “Caravane” at the Williams Center for the Arts 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Tickets cost $18 and may be ordered by calling the box office at 610-330-5009.

This “new vaudeville” entertainment includes suave tap dance by Tamango, capoiera from Brazil, and contemporary movement styles from America’s many youth cultures, accompanied by drums, trumpet, and jazz cello. A live video environment at the performance is added as “visual music.”

Tamango honors dance steps, musical traditions, and performance customs passed down through many generations of artists from numerous cultures, melding these historical influences into a contemporary evening. Members of Urban Tap include Sheila Anozier, freestyle Haitian dancer; Eiju Kawasaki, freestyle b-boy; Cabello, capoiera; Daniel Moreno, percussion; Bonga, Haitian percussion; Rufus Cappadocia, cello; Fabio Morgera, trumpet; Jean de Boysson, video designer and VJ; and Carlos Motta, live camera.

Caravane celebrated its off-Broadway debut with a three-week sold-out run at The New Victory Theater in New York City in February.

Hailed by The New York Times, Tamango has been described as “one of the great tap artists performing today, a dancer of astonishing speed and lightness whose feet produce a rippling, richly complex cannonade of tap beats.”

“Director-choreographer Tamango, who is a dancer, musician, and painter, may be considered a 20th-century Renaissance man,” writes Back Stage.

“Urban Tap finds comrades in any deep rhythmical recitation. You can almost see the diorama of the world speed behind the band,” writes The Village Voice.

Tamango returns to Lafayette after a prior visit for a jazz tap summit directed by Dave Leonhardt and Shelley Oliver in April 1994.

Born in Cayenne, French Guiana, Tamango moved to Paris at age eight and began a formal education in art. He started tap dancing in his early 20s at the American Center in Paris and the renowned Beaux Arts de Paris, which he left to join the “university of the streets” before moving to New York City. Tamango created Urban Tap in 1993, forming a group of like-minded, free-style performers who share a unique vision and deep passion for rhythm at the heart of dance and music. Urban Tap has performed in clubs throughout New York City and made its theatrical debut at The Kitchen in 1999. This show earned Tamango a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie).

Since 1997, Tamango and Urban Tap have been performing internationally as part of Cool Heat Urban Beat, which Tamango choreographed and co-directed with Rennie Harris. In addition to his work with Urban Tap, Tamango has shared the stage with dance legends Jimmy Slyde, Gregory Hines, Chuck Green, Buster Brown, and Lon Chaney, and was a guest artist in the original production of “Riverdance.” He has collaborated with Japanese performance artist Min Tanaka, French choreographer Philippe Decouflé, jazz bassist Christian McBride, and jazz pianist Barry Harris, among many others.

The performance is part of Lafayette’s biennial Roethke Festival, named for Theodore Roethke (1908-63), a former Lafayette faculty member and noted poet of the 1940s and ’50s. Roethke published several critically acclaimed volumes of poetry, including The Waking, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1954.

Funding in part is provided by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with leading funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Philip Morris Companies Inc., Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the British Council.

In addition to the Lafayette performance, Tamango will conduct a master class for tap dancers at the Muhlenberg College Center for the Arts, in cooperation with Muhlenberg dance faculty Karen Dearborn and Shelley Oliver, 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12. For more information, contact the Muhlenberg department of theater and dance at 484-664-3124.

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