Why We Created Audible Odyssey

Audible Odyssey

What does Audible Odyssey mean to me?

phil brooksEvery time someone asks me what I do and I tell them that I am a tap dancer, I get the EXACT same reaction.  It goes something like this: “Really! I love tap dance, I used to take tap when I was a kid, I really enjoyed it!”  This is an experience that I share with just about all of my tap colleagues.  When it comes up in conversation, we all have this same story.

So I pose the question, if everyone loves tap as much as they say they do, why isn’t it a larger part of our contemporary culture? Do people not know where to find it? Are they looking for it?

I have been in Chicago for almost 9 years and have had the pleasure to get to know each of the tap dance companies that call Chicago home.  I have also had the pleasure to be a member of a few of them.  These companies have made a substantial contribution to tap dance, expanding what it can do and how people view it.  I wouldn’t be the dancer I am today without them.

However, for all the amazing things happening with tap dance in Chicago, I have also observed a potentially dangerous trend in this community.  If a Chicago tap dancer isn’t working under one of the few established choreographers in this city, they move away to pursue a career in New York or elsewhere or they stop dancing altogether. I know this because I myself was in that position. I began to ask myself why this is so.

Where is the next generation of Chicago tap dance-makers?  What do they have to say?  Why isn’t the greater population seeing their work?

The goal of Audible Odyssey is not only to answer these questions but to reroute the trajectory of tap dance in this city.  Are we looking to change the culture of tap dance in Chicago?  In a sense, yes.  For an art form to progress, it must be relevant, accessible, and forever changing.  This is accomplished by continuously bringing in fresh ideas, creating new works, and giving the art form purpose.  Chicago has a wealth of young, professional tap dancers, brimming with artistic ideas and vision for their art form.  When it comes to making tap a larger part of our contemporary culture, they are the people for the job and their voices should be heard.  We’re here to make sure that happens.

If you knew of an organization created by professional tap dancers for professional tap dancers with a goal of making and presenting tap dances in ways you couldn’t even imagine, why wouldn’t you go see their shows?  This is what we do and more importantly this is who we are.

This organization is for all of you that tell us how much you love tap dance.  Now is your chance to see it and not just as a passive observer but as a part of its transformation.  It’s time you all got as excited about seeing our art form as we are excited to bring it to you.

We tap because we must.  Its in our blood.  It’s the air we breathe, and the life we lead.  I think its about time that everyone had the opportunity to see what we are living for.