Lynn Dally

Lynn Dally co-founded the Jazz Tap Ensemble with dancers Fred Strickler and Camden Richman in 1979. As dancer and choreographer, she has created a large body of original tap choreographies for the concert stage and performed worldwide on tour with the JTE. She has appeared often with tap legends Honi Coles, Eddie Brown, Steve Condos, the Nicholas Brothers, Brenda Bufalino, Dianne Walker, Sarah Petronio, Jimmy Slyde, and Gregory Hines in venues from Carnegie Hall to the Apollo. As Artistic Director of the Jazz Tap Ensemble since 1986, she has continued to innovate in the field of rhythm tap with live jazz music, honoring the legends while mentoring gifted young artists.

Dally has received multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Arts to create new work for the JTE, the Irvine Fellowship in Dance 2000 & 2001 for SOLEA, City of Los Angeles (COLA) Fellowship 2002 for Dancing Blues, and was the first tap dancer to receive the Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography 2001. Her long list of commissions includes Ruby, My Dear (Thelonious Monk) and Black Iris (Duke Ellington) for Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet; The Moment (Kenny Barron) for Chicago’s ETC/ Human Rhythm Project; Tribute: A Valentine to Tap Dance in the Movies for the Palm Beach Festival; Tribute to Fred Astaire for the Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Recently, she fulfilled a new commission from the California Arts Council, “American TAP Masterpieces: The Hollywood Journey,” which toured California in 2007, with additional support from the N.E.A. and the New England Foundation for the Arts and was further developed into “TAP ROOTS” for presentation at New York’s Joyce Theatre, Fall Season 2008 along with a new work commissioned by the Joyce Foundation called “Bahia Dreams.”

With a BA in Dance and French Literature from the Ohio Sate University and an MA in Theatre & Dance from Smith College, Dally is currently Adjunct Professor in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures, and continues to teach and perform internationally. Recent delights include Tap Divas for NY Tap City Festival; Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, Salzburg Jazz Festival, Lyon’s Maison de la Danse, and Joyce Theater NY 2004, ’05, & ’08 with Jazz Tap Ensemble. Her first published article, No Maps On My Taps: An Appreciation, appears in the book Envisioning Dance. Her first dvd, SOLEA, explores cross cultural rhythms in her new choreography for four dancers of different worlds, bharata natyam, flamenco, modern, and rhythm tap. She created a dvd tribute to the late great Gregory Hines in 2003. In 2006, she received the “Hoofer Award” at NY Tap City Festival for her contribution to choreography in tap. In February, 2008, she created the first national gathering of “Women in Tap” at UCLA, featuring five generations of leading female tap artists, scholars, writers and filmmakers in live concerts, conferences, master classes and dialogues. In tribute to these women of the tap renaissance, their creativity and brilliance, Dally has just completed her first tap documentary, “Gotta Move: Women in Tap.”

Biography from Masters of American Tap Dance

Further Reading:

Jazz Tap Ensemble:

UCLA World Arts and Cultures/Dance:

Masters of American Tap Dance:

American Tap Dance Foundation Hoofer Award:


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Categorized as: ARTIST, Artistic Director, Choreographer, Dancer, Modern, Tap, Teacher/Educator