If a bomb were to go off in the St. Louis University High School Performing Arts Center on Sunday, the world would lose nearly all of its greatest tap dancers.
That's where Robert Reed is staging the grand culminating concert of his 10th annual All That Tap festival, a weeklong series of workshops that attracts the top tap talent from around the globe.
This year's luminaries include the seventysomething Ernest Brown, who used to headline at the Cotton Club and danced with the Copasetics; Reggio "the Hoofer" McLaughlin, who rose from performances in the Chicago subways to international renown; Dianne "Lady Di" Walker; Jimmy Slyde, who renamed himself after a famous dance step he created; Prince Spencer of the Four Step Brothers; Omar Edwards, veteran of Savion Glover's tap musical Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk and member of dance company N.Y.O.T.S.; Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, principal dancer in the European tour of Black and Blue; Bruce Bradley, founder of the Creative Expressions Dance Studio of Flint, Mich.; Acia Gray, artistic director of the Tapestry Dance Company of Austin, Texas; ballet master teacher Sam Weber; Brazilian-rhythms-in-tap specialist Christiane Matallo; the eclectic Especially Tap Chicago; the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble; and local tap dogs the St. Louis Hoofers Club and members of Six Feet of Rhythm.
A book-signing with 87-year-old Cholly Atkins takes place at 1:30 p.m. on the same day as the big show. Atkins, a former choreographer for Motown Records, has written an autobiography called Class Act, which recounts his days dancing with the Louis Armstrong and Count Basie revues, plus how he taught scores of groups, including the Supremes, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Marvin Gaye how to move to their music.