Director and choreographer of dynamic Tap Factory, Vincent Pausanias, talks to David Bellan

Vincent Pausanias directed and choreographed many shows in Europe and the United States before forming the company that allows him to follow his greatest love — tap dancing.

“I was trained in a lot of different skills,” he says. “I did ballet and all sorts of dance, and I’ve been dancing for 18 years now in shows all over the world, including the Paris Opera. But my passion has always been tap dance, and finally I’ve been able to form my own company. This is very exciting for me, and very hard work, but it’s also rewarding to be doing my own project.

“This is not the classic tap of Fred and Ginger. We try to show people tap has evolved a lot, and that there’s a modern way of dancing this style now.

“All art forms need to evolve and have evolved. In music, for example, we have traditional jazz and modern jazz and many off-shoots from the original idea. In this company we have very, very strong tap dancers; they’ve all been world champions or something like that.

“The show is obviously a tap dance show basically, but it’s much more.

“I have worked in the past with lots of different kinds of artists — acrobats, and circus artists and all sorts of perfor-mers — so I wanted to include some other disciplines. The idea of the show is that all the artists are really strong in their own discipline, but they also do other things like play comedy — there’s a lot of that in the show.”

The set, looking industrial and uncompromising, is a factory, and all the people on stage are characters working there.

“The drummer is the foreman, and we have an African dancer, a hip-hop dan-cer, who is the sweeper. The acrobats are the mechanics working on the products. One of the acrobats is a cabaret-style artist, the other is an aerialist, while the dancer is really doing hip-hop and also various tribal dance-influenced pieces.”

And the story? “It’s not really a story, but as the characters move through the show they have their own interaction.

“We have a mix of different moods and ambiences. We have strong percussion with oil-barrels, and we also have a lot of poetry. We have a guy who does a really smooth dance number in bare feet on sand, which makes a change and is very amusing. I wanted this show to be fun, and the audience to go home feeling its positive energy.”

The show contains almost no music at all. I asked Vincent why.

“We’re doing the music ourselves through percussion and through the sound of our tap dancing. I wanted to leave the performers some liberty for improvisation in order to keep the freshness of the show.

“So this was my choice — that almost all of the music in the show is created by us, except for one moment when we do a dedication to the old-fashioned tap dance, and we have a radio on, and everybody comes on and does a kind of swing number. ”

It’s a long and demanding tour for them, but they have had great feedback. “We’ve been getting a terrific reception everywhere we’ve been,” says Vincent. “So it’s all very exciting.”

Tap Factory
New Theatre, Oxford
Sunday, April 20, 7.30pm
Tickets £23.40–£26.90 plus £4 fee. Call 0844 871 3020 visit