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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)October 29, 2001

(Mahwah)-The New Jersey Tap Ensemble (NJTE), a professional dance company dedicated to rhythm tap, will perform, Sunday, November 25 at 3 p.m. in the Sharp Theater at Ramapo College of New Jersey. The show, Rhythm Is Our Business, is set to the music of the classical big-band era. J. Leonard Oxley, director of the band and pianist, will lead the three-piece set.

The performance is a 90-minute celebration of rhythm tap and will highlight the art form’s roots and traditions through the youthful energy of today’s tap generation. The dance troupe will perform specialty numbers such as the premiere of “New Low Down” that pays tributes to tap legend Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, along with ensemble numbers such as the “Shim Sham Shimmy,” “That Rhythm Man” and “Jersey Bounce.” Other musical numbers such as “The Moon Suite” and “Rhythm” offer more contemporary tap choreography and interpretation. In addition, the audience will get a sneak preview of the next generation by the ensemble’s youth company as they perform “Everybody Loves My Baby.” Schedules permitting, Karen Callaway Williams and Parris Man, both stars of Riverdance on Broadway, will make guest appearances.

Deborah Mitchell, artistic director of The New Jersey Tap Ensemble, founded the company in 1994. One of the primary goals of the company is to recruit dancers throughout the state. Company members represent at least 13 of the state’s 21 counties, as well as a few counties in New York. The vast demographic composition of the dancers is reflected in the company’s artistic presentations.

The company is divided into two units: principal dancers, who are young adults and teens, comprise the First Company. Apprentice dancers, ranging from seven to 12, are in the Repertory and Youth Company. The mission of the company is to preserve and perpetuate the art and rhythm of tap dancing through public performances, arts education, innovative programming, artistic development, and new works.

Mitchell’s experience has been important in leading the company to its success and continuing growth. She appeared in the motion picture, The Cotton Club; the Broadway show, Black and Blue; and has toured Europe and parts of the United States with partner Germaine Goodson as the Rhythm Queens with legendary Cab Calloway. She is affiliated with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and her credits include master classes, workshops, and residencies.

Tickets are $18 for general admission, $15 for seniors and Ramapo affiliates, $10 for children, and $5 for students with a valid I.D. The Sharp Theater is located in the Angelica and Russ Berrie Center for Performing Arts on the Ramapo College campus. For information or to order tickets, call (201) 684-7844.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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