Michela Marino Lerman
Michela Morino Lerman, photo by Terry Morino Lerman
Michela Marino Lerman first appeared on Sesame Street at the age of 5. In February 2002 she was showcased on the cover of Dance Teacher magazine with Gregory Hines. In 2005, she was named by Dance Spirit magazine as one of the 20 hottest tap dancers under 20 and in 2008, Dance magazine named her as the only female tap dancer in its “25 to Watch in 2008. Lerman also won first prize in the Harlem Jazz Dance Festival’s, “Hoofer’s Challenge” in both 2002 and 2003.
In 2002, Lerman performed with Jennifer Holliday on Broadway in Nothing Like A Dame and also in 21 Below at Town Hall. In 2003, she was inducted into the famed Copasetics as their first and only female lifetime honorary member. In 2004-2006, Lerman toured Spain and Japan with Rafael Amargo’s Enramblao. In the fall of 2005, her choreography was featured in the tap section of the opening number for the Bermuda Music Festival with UDP, starring Al Green, Angie Stone, and Patti LaBelle.. At the age of 19, she was commissioned by Dixon Place to create and direct her own show, entitled AM+bu$h+ED.
2007 saw Lerman tour Europe for three months as a lead dancer in the hit show Magic of the Dance. In 2008 she appeared on CBS’s Secret Talents of the Stars with Grammy award singer Mya, performing the choreography of Emmy award winner Jason Samuels Smith. Since 2007, She has been a featured performer at NYC’s hottest nightclub, The Box. She recently danced with the Roy Hargrove at the Jazz Gallery and the Village Vanguard. Lerman has also been commissioned by the American Tap Dance Foundation and HarlemStage to show her new work entitled Tapsploitation. She was co-creator an in forming the tap dance company The Tap Messengers who have performed at the CareFusion Jazz Festival with Talib Kweli and Nicholas Payton in the Revive Da Live Big Band, Joe’s Pub, and HarlemStage opening for Marcus Strickland. Her current company Sole Society has also appeared with Revive Da Live Big Band for the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival, performed at Fat Cat, Flushing Town Hall and most extensively collaborated with Marcus Strickland, creating choreography to some of his original music in “Strickly From the Sole” performed at Matthew Garrison’s ShapeShifter Lab.
Lerman is currently running the only weekly tap jam in NYC at Smalls Jazz Club, which has recently been written up in the NY Times. There she has been collaborating with some of today’s most gifted young jazz musicians.
Lerman is eternally grateful for the mentoring and guidance given to her by Dr. James “Buster” Brown, Gregory Hines, and Leroy Myers. She has taught in numerous schools, studios, programs, and festivals throughout the world. As a performer, teacher, director, and choreographer, Lerman is dedicated to spreading the art of tap around the world.
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