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Legendary dancer honors his mentors

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Entertainment,Music,Emily Cary

Savion Glover pauses during his dynamic career to remember the tap-dancers who guided his development from precocious youngster to the master of the art form that he is today. He brings the Washington-area premiere of his new production, "SoLe Sanctuary," to George Mason University's Center for the Arts, joined by fellow tap-dancer Marshall Davis Jr.

"This is a tribute to the pioneers before me so the audience can see my connection with Sammy Davis Jr., Jimmy Slyde and Gregory Hines," said Glover. "It will be an evening of prayer and dedication to those who made me what I am. I'm thankful to have been born in this time and to have learned from these men. Not one experience I had outweighs the other. Each of them poured out time, energy and love. Our connections went so far beyond dance in the way they showed an interest in me as a person."

Glover took his lessons to heart. From the outset of his career, his goal has been to emphasize and bring back the African roots to popular dance. In "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk," he pulled together the various tap styles from plantations to the present. His efforts were repaid with Tony Awards for Best Choreography and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.

Onstage
Savion Glover: 'SoLe Sanctuary'
Where: George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Info: $23 to $46; 888-945-2468; cfa.gmu.edu

His journey along the way has allowed him to recognize who he is as an African-American and his connection to all cultures. In this country, tap-dancing goes back to the art of drumming that slaves brought from Africa to the plantations. When they were prohibited from drumming by plantation owners who feared they were sending messages about planned uprisings, they transferred the rhythm to their feet. Thus, tap-dancing was born.

"When I choreograph, the tap rhythm is the music. I got started playing drums, so my feet are my instrument. I am a work in progress. My style is tomorrow, and in my dance, I spread a message that allows the audience to hear the tap music in audio."

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