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WHAT: Tap Dogs

WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts, North Campus

ADMISSION: $25.50 to $35.50


It's a rumble. "Tap Dogs," a 90-minute tour de force involving six tap dancers from Australia, England, Canada and the United States, is out to dance on Riverdance's grave. The guys in "Tap Dogs" are tough, they're blue-collar, and they're headed this way.

That's not much of an exaggeration. "Tap Dogs" creator and choreographer Dein Perry got his low-down start at a makeshift dance school in Newcastle, an Australian steel town north of Sydney. Graduating at 17, he worked for six years as an industrial machinist before getting a dancing break in a Sydney production of "42nd Street."

"Tap Dogs" premiered in 1995 as a contemporary dance show Perry developed based on the experiences of his old-school tap dancing mates. The cast has evolved since then to embrace several continents, but the show's gritty, working-class feel endures, like a big piece of scrap metal. With nonstop action and an original score performed live on stage with two musicians, the show has dazzled audiences in London and Edinburgh.

American critics, too, have been bowled over. The San Francisco Chronicle called "Tap Dogs" "the event of the season; a sweeping, noisy, fast and fabulous hit." The L.A. Times called it "an amazing achievement." When "Tap Dogs" dances into Buffalo, we'll see how they fare here. Something tells us they'll like this town.

-- Mary Kunz

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