Roxane Butterfly

Roxane Butterfly, photo by Leslie Lyons

Roxane Butterfly, underground tap-dance icon (named Butterfly by legendary master Jimmy Slyde), has been an instrumental force in helping transform the stereotypical presentation of tap in the contemporary performing arts world. Linking her performances with social justice issues such as domestic violence and immigration, her uncommon career has led her across North and South America, Canada, all around Europe, West and North Africa, Asia and the Middle-East, Russia and the Indian Ocean. From busking in New York City to playing Las Vegas New York New York Hotel, from hoofing with Bartabas’ horse at the Theatre de Suresnes in France to the Teatro Zinzani spiegel-tent show in Seattle, from Moroccan night-clubs to international jazz festivals, from teaching in schools for the handicapped in France to joining the campaign against female excision in Guinea, from touring Israel with Peace concerts to premiering her north-African tap-fusion in Central Park… Butterfly’s achievements have been internationally acclaimed by both the music and dance critics.

Butterfly debuted as a “director” at the age of 25 at the Theatre de Suresnes in Paris where she first attempted to bridge European tap with America and invited tapsters Savion Glover, Tamango and vaudevillian Rod Ferrone to participate in Suresnes-Cité Danse 1996. In 1996, she coached the brilliant tango-dancer Pablo Veron in the motion-picture by Sally Potter “The Tango Lesson”. In 2004, she served as tap-director for the American Dance Festival in Durham (NC) during the Festival of The Feet, an event gathering Carlotta Santana’s Flamenco Vivo and kathak master Chitresh Daas. A dancer dedicated to using live-music in all her performances she has received the support of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation (USArtists International Fund), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York Foundation for the Arts, Arts International, and the Harkness Dance Space Grant. First woman tap dancer to have received a Bessie Award (1998), she keeps on opening new grounds for the european-contemporary tap wave in her Jimmy Slyde Institute based in Barcelona (www.jimmyslydeinstitute.org)

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