About this project
What is Cats Paying Dues?
Cats Paying Dues (CPD) is a tap dance company by Andrew Nemr now celebrating its 10th Anniversary. A combination of an affectionate nickname for someone in the know (Cat), and a way of approaching tap dance promoted by many masters of the dance ("these young cats have got to pay their dues," they would often say), CPD has been presenting critically and popularly acclaimed work since its debut in 2005. From local news shows and theaters to national broadcasts and touring, CPD's work has been called “a welcome return to the elegance of simplicity and the tap dancer as maker of aural magic” (exploredance.com) and “deeply touching” (Daily Gazette).
What is CPD10?
2015 marks CPD's 10th Anniversary Season (aka CPD10). We do not know where the time has gone, but we are taking this opportunity to go big and celebrate the fact that we have made it through the past 10 years. We want you to celebrate with us!!! In addition to our 2014-2015 roster of company members we will be bringing back some members from years past. We plan on presenting Three World Premiere Tap Dance Suites including a collaboration with hammered dulcimer virtuoso Max ZT and his band, House of Waters.
The proposed dates for the celebration are May 13-17, 2015.
Max ZT and House of Waters
Max ZT is a national champion hammered dulcimer player and the front man for the band, House of Waters. Max and Andrew met over 6 years ago and immediately hit it off during a casual 4 hour jam session. They have played in duo on many occasions, inspiring one another and sharing in the joy they have found improvising together. But they have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to collaborate on something bigger -- House of Waters meets Cats Paying Dues...lots of music...lots of dancing...lots of energy.
Andrew Nemr (Artistic Director, Choreographer, Performer), mentored by Gregory Hines and TED Fellow, is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces: Dance Initiative Grant, and the Flo-Bert Award for Excellence in Tap Dance. An internationally renown performer, educator, and speaker, Andrew has performed with jazz master Clark Terry, Nat Adderley, Jr., Harry Connick Jr., the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, and the legendary Les Paul. Andrew has given numerous TED talks, appears on the Grammy nominated recording “Itsbynne Reel” by Dave Eggar, the DVD Documentary and companion album “Tuesdays at Mona’s” about the old time jazz scene in New York City, and as narrator of DanceTime Publications’ first tap dance DVD, Tap Dance History: From Vaudeville to Film. Collectively, Andrew’s choreography and solo work has been described as “a welcome return to the elegance of simplicity and the tap dancer as maker of aural magic” (exploredance.com) and “deeply touching” (Daily Gazette).
Max ZT (House of Waters, Composer, Performer) has been described as a “force of nature” (Ny Music Daily), the “Jimi Hendrix of the Hammered Dulcimer (NPR), and “a sight to behold (Timeout NY). In addition to traditional Irish and American folk music, Max’s musical influences derive from Senegal and India, where he lived and studied with the Cissoko family and under Pandit Sivkumar Sharma respectively. Max has shared the stage with a variety of music icons including Ravi Shankar, Jon Bon Jovi, Bela Fleck, Karsh Kale, and Jimmy Cliff. He has recorded with Victor Wooten, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Phillip Phillips, among others, and has released 8 albums as both a soloist and with his band House of Waters.
Rob Harari (Production and Sound Design) was the production and sound designer for Gregory Hines' live performances for over 18 years. The designer of the Tap Dance Instrument, Rob also worked with Savion Glover on a variety of productions including Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk, Live (Barbra Streisand), Cannes Film Festival, and Spike Lee's Bamboozled. With experience in tap dance production for live performance, television, and film, and specific knowledge of psychoacoustics, Rob has been an integral force in every one of Cats Paying Dues' productions since the very beginning.
Nicholas Houfek (Lighting Design) has worked with SoPercussion, The Bang on a Can All-Stars, and ICE. His work in Theater and Dance include: The Play about My Dad, The Momentum (Collaboration Town),The Capables, (Gym at Judson), Coney (The New Ohio), Take Me Back (Walkerspace), Travis and the Brazen Women (ARSNOVA),unFRAMED, (John Jay College, SoloNova), Caucasian Chalk Circle (PPAS), Ian Spencer Bell Dance, William Isaac’s Kymera Dance,The 39 Steps (Olney Theatre Center). Co-Lighting Designs include: Natalie Merchant Tour 2014, Li’l Buck and YoYo Ma at (le) Poussin Rouge and the art installation Pharmacaphore with choreography by Silas Reiner at The Storefront for Art and Architecture. Tours with Natalie Merchant, Martha Graham, ArmitageGone! Dance, Deborah Hay, 360º Dance, and Jonah Bokaer as Lighting Supervisor. As an Assistant he has worked for New York City Ballet, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Lincoln Center Festival and Fall for Dance at NYCC. Graduate of Boston University.
The Tap Dance Instrument
Designed by Rob Harari and used by Gregory Hines and Savion Glover, the Tap Dance Instrument is the premiere dance surface for tap dancing. Although an additional production cost, the Tap Dance Instrument offers a special experience for the dancers and the audience. It provides a more controllable surface insuring an unparalleled level of safety for the dancers and the best possible sound for the audience. Cats Paying Dues will be using the Tap Dance Instrument for this production.
What You Are Funding
- The production of Three World Premiere Tap Dance Suites including a collaboration with Max ZT and House of Waters
- Rental of Rehearsal and Performance Spaces
- Fees for the Dancers, Musicians, Production Designers, and Crew
- Shipping of the Tap Dance Instrument
- Promotional Materials and Press Relations
- Professional Documentation of the Show
What do you do with a Fully Funded Show?
You change lives. As much as we enjoy tap dancing, making the dancing mean more is why we are storytellers. And so with a fully funded show, we've made plans that proceeds from the ticket sales of CPD10 will go to CEDAR HOME FOR GIRLS, an orphanage in Nabeih, Lebanon. There's a story behind this choice and we're honored to make this show that much more meaningful.
Why Any of This Matters
Every art form is special, and in the best of times offers an opportunity for individuals to find themselves through self-expression, for groups of individuals to find community through common interests and pursuits, and for communities to see themselves in a new light, as the art presented reflects something of the culture in which the community lives.
Cats Paying Dues has been creating tap dance repertoire that builds a bridge between the popular tap dancing of the 1920s (when tap dance was highly visible in popular culture), the highly technical form it has become today, and the human stories the art form was meant to express -- stories about love, doubt, suffering, joy, and reconciliation.
We want you to become a part of this special process of bringing these new works to life - works that reflect something of the culture we live in. We want you to be more than just the audience as we celebrate our 10th anniversary.
Risks and challenges
The major challenge in a theatrical production (particularly in New York City) is space. That's why we have already secured dates with two venues that are appropriate for the production and available during the proposed time frame. The spaces are currently on a soft hold as we raise the necessary funds to produce the entire production.
Secondly, coverage of personnel is key. Cats Paying Dues is organized such that each dancer's role in the production will be understudied by another member of the company. If anyone happens to become ill or injured we will have the ability to fill the role and still put on the show.
With redundancy already in place where appropriate, and a top-notch creative team ready to go, all we need is you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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