Mark Yonally is the founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Tap Theatre, one of the most critically well-regarded dance companies in Chicago. They perform an annual three-show season in Chicago and tour both throughout America and Europe. Their performances have been chosen as the Top Ten Dance events of the year by the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, SeeChicagoDance and Windy City Media. Their 2016 Time Travel Story Shoe, “TimeSteps” was selected as the Best New Production of 2016 by the Dance Magazine Reader’s Poll. Mark has developed a national and international reputation as a performer, with solo performances in Chicago, Helsinki, Barcelona, New York, Amsterdam and Paris. He has been blessed to have Sam Weber, Sarah Petronio, Dianne Walker, Bill Evans and Billy Siegenfeld as mentors. Mark has also recorded with live musicians, including an appearance with the Polyphonic Spree on their song “Mental Cabaret” and on stage with them at Lollapalooza.
As a company member of the Bill Evans Dance Company and Especially Tap Chicago (ETC), Mark performed at such prestigious festivals as the St. Louis Tap Festival, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, the Gus Giordano Jazz Dance World Congress and at the Royal Opera House in Helsinki, Finland. Furthermore, Mark has gained the plaudits of major dance critics for his innovative approach to tap choreography. His works have been commissioned and performed by the Bill Evans Dance Company, ETC and Hope College, among others. Mark also maintains a longstanding professional relationship with Valérie Lussac, Artistic Director of Tapage of Toulouse, France. He teaches and judges at conventions and competitions throughout the US, including Ovation Competitions and Mark Goodmans’ Totally Tap.
Mark is a noted educator and has taught at festivals throughout the U.S. and has served on the faculty at Oklahoma City University and Hope College. He is sought after for his multidisciplinary approach to tap teaching, which includes history, basic music theory and an emphasis on jazz music, and has taught in France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and the United States. Mark is also a published author, with pieces appearing in Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher and Dance Magazine.
Students will develop their technique to the highest level, practice exercises that push their timing, dynamics and musicality, and learn intricate choreography every week in this class, which doubles as Chicago Tap Theatre's Company Class. Like all of CTT's classes, there will be short lectures at the end of each class devoted to learning about the history of this Black American dance form. Students will leave with a deeper movement vocabulary, greater facility and speed and a renewed passion for the dance.
Improvisation/Music Literacy for Dancers
Students need not fear Improvisation! This class is focused on the capacity of Improvisation to communicate, express and inspire in a non-competitive atmosphere. At least 15 minutes of each class is focused on learning about the history of Jazz Music and Music Literacy while devoting the rest to exercises that utilize and reference ideas discussed. Ultimately, this class is about developing the ability to say what we want clearly and effectively as movement artists, percussionists and humans.
This is the perfect class for the tap dancer who has studied at least a couple years of Tap, but isn't quite ready for the speed and technical skill demanded at the Adv level. Students will practice exercises that take familiar steps and ideas and recontextualizes them rhythmically, musically and pattern-wise. Short dance combinations are often a part of this class, along with a short Tap and/or Jazz Music History lecture devoted to learning about the history of this Black American dance form. The ability to execute steps with greater speed and finesse as well as picking up and remembering material are just some of the benefits of this class.
Never tap danced before OR maybe you took a break and want to ease back into it with a refresher? This is a relaxed, super positive class with a focus on learning basic tap steps, developing an understanding of musicality and rhythm and gaining an appreciation for the history of this deep art form. Focus is on having fun while being led through technique and exercises that will have benefits far outside the dance studio, including coordination, balance, cultural awareness and music understanding. Classes will end with a short Tap and/or Jazz Music History lecture devoted to learning about the history of this Black American dance form.