If your feet start twitching after 20 minutes in a theatre seat, then you should go to a Buckets & Tap Shoes performance, where feet twitching is encouraged. Brothers Rick and Andy Ausland began the high-energy rhythm dance group on the streets of Minneapolis with a couple of pairs of tap shoes and a few paint buckets. Rick Ausland characterizes the performance as “funk-based dance music.” The brothers — and a collection of their friends — blend taps, buckets, and a four-piece band to create their electric beats. Acrobatic dance moves and frenetic energy engender an atmosphere that is full of surprises. “We think of the floor as a drum,” says Ausland, “it connects music and dancing at the same time.”
This is Buckets & Tap Shoes’ first visit to Piccolo Spoleto, but the group are veterans of the performance art festival circuit. They have received rave reviews for their sold-out performances at the Fringe Festival in Minnesota, where they were voted “Best of Fringe.” The Star Tribune crooned, “Hands down, the best time spent in a tether in years … Jaw-dropping tap dancing.”
Until last week, the troupe wasn’t sure they would make it to Charleston. Their tour bus had been stolen outside of Minneapolis. Two weeks later it was found in Duluth, Minn. “The buckets and taps were still in the van. Everything turned up except for the car stereo,” says a relieved Rick Ausland.
After their visit to the South, they are off to Helsinki, Finland, to perform in the Helsinki Tap Festival. They have made appearances on VH1 and MTV and have shared the stage with such famous tappers as Savion Glover and Jimmy Slyde.
If you’re looking for a funky Piccolo event, then it’s time to get yourself some Buckets & Tap Shoes.
Buckets & Tap Shoes • Piccolo Spoleto’s Charleston Music Hall Series • $25, $20 seniors/students • June 2, 7 at 4 p.m., June 4 at 8 p.m., June 5 at 1 p.m., June 6 at 3 p.m. • Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. • 554-6060