RIYADH: After 23 years entertaining theater audiences around the world, the Australian dance show “Tap Dogs” has arrived in Riyadh. The full 80-minute show, created by dancer Dein Perry, is at the King Salman Theatre, Riyadh Schools, until October 19, but an audience at the Australian embassy was recently treated to an exhilarating 10-minute extract featuring some frenetic footwork.
“’Tap Dogs’ is one of the very first international dance groups to perform in Saudi Arabia,” said Ridwan Jadwat, the Australian ambassador to Saudi Arabia as he introduced the performance. “It’s a world-renowned act. The original Tap Dog is Dein Perry and I’m very pleased that his son, Reid, is with us today.
“Australia’s entertainment industry is an important part of the Australian economy. I’m thrilled that Australia is now collaborating with Saudi Arabia as (the Kingdom is) opening its own industry to the world.”
Set on a building site in the steel-working Australian town of Newcastle, north of Sydney, “Tap Dogs” is described as “part theatre, part dance, part rock concert and part construction site.” The show, which was first performed in Sydney in 1995, is crammed with high-energy tap-dance routines — some of them performed in water, upside-down or while jumping through scaffolding — accompanied by music performed live by the cast and musicians.
Cast member Sam Marks was just seven years old when he started taking tap-dancing lessons
“My mom made me take up tap-dance lessons. Once I did my first tap class, I was hooked,” he said. “Our style is very unique and the boots that we use are unique to Dein Perry and Australia.”
Co-star Reid Perry, the 20-year-old son of the “Tap Dog” founder, was inspired by his dad to start learning tap dancing at the tender age of 2.
“I wouldn’t have started tap dancing or dancing in general if he didn’t get me into it, which is something that was very cool, growing up with him being able to teach me,” he said.
Both of the young performers said they are enjoying their time in Saudi Arabia and found it to be a friendly and open place.
This event is part of a cultural-exchange festival presented by Glory Events with the support of the General Cultural Authority.
“Raeefa Al-Shawaf, the executive director of Glory Events, was on a visit to the UK and when she first saw them perform and saw the idea behind, the vision came: why not bring it to Saudi Arabia?” said, Kashif Zahoor, the organization’s operations director. “We wanted to work with them and they wanted to work with us.”