"Astonishing elegance and virtuosity, a blend of swaying curved form, lightning speed and skimming floor rhythms. One is tempted to call him the best dancer of any kind around." - Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times
Tamango is a dancer, musician and painter whose revolutionary approach to tap transforms his dance into music with a sharpened sense of style and awe-inspiring fluidity. 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 20's at the American Center in Paris and entered the renowned school of Beaux Arts in Paris before moving to America in the mid 80's. His first major performances in the early 1990's included The Majesty of Tap at Lincoln Center, New York; Philippe Decoufle’s 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville; and the Opera de Paris in Peut-on Dancer un Paysage, directed by Min Tanaka and Karel Appel. He has shared the stage with dance legends Gregory Hines, Bunny Briggs, Jimmy Slyde, Chuck Green, Buster Brown, Lon Chaney, Sarah Petronio, Tina Pratt and Savion Glover. Tamango has collaborated with musicians Bobby McFerrin, David Murray, Chucho Valdes, Christian McBride, Barry Harris, Charlie Hunter, Richard Bona, Cheikh Tidiane Seck, Elvin Jones, Giovanni Hidalgo, Zakir Hussein and gnawa master Mahmoud Guinea. In 2002, Tamango was featured in a documentary about his life on the French-German television channel ARTE. He appeared in Stomp's Imax film, Pulse, and on RFO Guyane national Television. He has also performed in a music video with Tony Bennett. Tamango was a featured performer in the American and Australian productions of Riverdance in 1996. He co-directed and collaborated with hip hop master Rennie Harris on a production titled Cool Heat, Urban Beat which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and toured throughout the world. A master tap dancer, Tamango incorporates a unique blend of jazz tap and Afro Caribbean dance which the press has recognized as his signature style. For over 15 years, Tamango has been a major force in the downtown New York City scene performing at underground joints and clubs like SOB's, The Cooler, P.S. 122, Metropolis and the Supper Club. He later developed his work into URBAN TAP, a full ensemble evening bringing together a global mix of dancers and musicians in tap, capoeira, hip hop, jazz, Afro-Caribbean and other styles -- presented at The Kitchen in 1999 and for which he received a Bessie/New York Dance and Performance Award (2000). While he continues to tour with Urban Tap, Tamango is also engaged in starting a center for creative activity in his native French Guiana. In 2005 he was the sole tap dancer to receive the Kennedy Center Masters of African American Dance Award, and the youngest recipient. His latest work is Bay Mo Dilo (Give Me Water), based on the rhythms and mythology of his Creole culture. In 2007-08, Tamango was a guest artist in the French production of In Search of Josephine, a project bridging the times of Josephine Baker and “La Revue Nègre” with modern day political strife and racism issues revolving around New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. At the invitation of the Kodo Drummers of Japan, Tamango and his company were invited to the 2006 Earth Celebration – a three day pilgrimage to Sado Island, Japan – home of the Drummers and site of this annual celebration. The collaboration and melding of the two companies drew record crowds and Tamango was invited to return in 2007 for their 20th Anniversary and collaborate with artists throughout the world. Another recent project, Stepping Out, was a co-production of Urban Tap and the International Dance Festival Ireland. This project brought together traditional Irish musicians (fiddle, accordion, guitar) and a sean nos step dancer, Seosamh O’Neactain from the Connomara territory with a bongo palyer from Haiti, a jazz trumpeter from Italy and Tamango. For a week of collaboration leading into 3 sold out performances, the group closed the annual festival in Dublin with great success.
"Tamango is an astonishingly fluid performer, always loose with swiveling hips, rubbery legs and a mobile torso but still brilliantly sharp in the crystal clear virtuosity of his complex tapping." -The New York Times
"By any standard, Tamango is one of the great dancers of this age and this Bay Area debut was the kind of joyous event that makes you reconsider the possibilities and realign priorities. Caravane was greeted with the kind of ovation usually reserved for heads of state." - San Francisco Chronicle
"Like all great dancers, Tamango has a signature style but never ceases to surprise.... The spirit that inhabits his dancing changes a real body into unimagined and elegant shapes." -The New York Times
"The way things are going these days, it looks like the world could use a cultural ambassador and Tamango's got the perfect pedigree for the positions the universal language is rhythm." - City Paper - Philadelphia
"Director-choreographer Tamango, who is dancer, musician and painter, may be considered a 21st century Renaissance man. Caravane is a not to be missed experience." - Back Stage