Roxane Butterfly

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With a father from Romansh-Switzerland, a mother born in Morocco and a love-story with american jazz-tap-dancing which kept her in New York for 18 years, French-born Roxane Butterfly (now partly established in Barcelona) perfectly fits the definition of a world-class citizen. In 1992, while baptizing her ''Butterfly'', bebop tap-master Jimmy Slyde could not possibly imagine that her light-footed ''Papillon'' would so radically transform the landscape of tap, a language born out of african-american slavery on the plantations. Neither could he think she would take his beloved art-form all the way back to the African Mother-Land through the exploration of her own mediterranean roots. Underground tap-dance icon Roxane Butterfly, 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 Morrocan night-clubs to international jazz festivals, from teaching in schools for the handicaped 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.

She 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. As a dancer deeply 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. She was selected as one of the ‘25 Best’ by Dance Magazine (2002) and her company’s repeated appearances at Symphony Space owed her to be mentioned among the five most innovative dance artists of the 2004 season by Backstage Magazine. She is the only woman tap dancer to have received a Bessie Award.

Her many musical collaborations include work with the african jazz trio Kora Jazz (BabelMed 2009), saxophonist Phil Wood, guitarist Stanley Jordan, vocalistElizabeth Kontomanou, bassists Ron Carter and Barre Philipps, drummers Bob Moses, Aldo Romano, Dennis Charles, Israeli frame-drummer Zohar Fresco, udist Yoel Ben Simhon, Mailan pianist Cheikh Tidiiane Seck, contemporary percussionists Evelyn Glennie and Amores etc.... as well as hoofers Gregory Hines, The Nicholas Brothers and her mentor Jimmy Slyde (to name just a few)… Her wide musical knowledge has allowed varied audiences to find her dancing traditional jazz-standards with prestigious orchestras and big-bands (ex: New York Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Cab Calloway Orchestra & the Duke Orchestra in France), or creating new soundscapes with electronica-pioneer Graham Haynes (cornet), while experimenting at the fusion/world-music jam sessions known as ‘Speaking Tongues” at the renowned avant-garde Walker Stage loft (NYC) in the early 2000s. Butterfly has truly helped revitalize tap on the international music scene while expanding the art-form’s vocabulary, technic and perception.

Recently seen dancing on the façade of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in David Michalek’s gigantic video-installation “Slow-Dancing”, Butterfly also served as casting director/chorerographer (and performer) for HSBC latest TV commercial in Istanbul (Turquey) and is currently featured in “Touch The Sound” by Thomas Riekhelman. In 1996, she coached the brilliant tango-dancer Pablo Veron in the motion-picture by Sally Potter “The Tango Lesson”. She has since been broadcasted on numerous international radio and TV programs. A dedicated educator the French-born ‘papillon’ has taught workshops and given seminars around the world including at the American Dance Festival (Durham, NC), Dance USA and Arts Presenters (APAP) conferences, University of Virginia, New York University, New York Public Library, ImpulzTanz (Vienna, Austria), the French Embassy of Colombo (Sri-Lanka) and many more... Fluent in French, English and Spanish, she served as interpreter for jazz luminaries Max Roach and Amiri Baraka at the Cite de la Musique (Paris), and her writings on tap have been published in JazzHot, Danser (in French), ON TAP bulletin of International Tap Association (I.T.A) and in The Nation. She lives between New York and Barcelona and is a part of the collective of catalan artists CENTRAL ART PROCESS based in Cerdanyola (Spain).


Ronnie Scott (London Tap Jam/ March 09)), BabelMed 2009 (with Kora Jazz Trio), Teatro Laboral (with Nzi Dada/March 2009) Festival La Magie du Mouvement, FES (Morocco Dec 08), British Museum (with South African poet Leeto Thale and Kora master Tunde Jegede, Nov 08), Saga Africa/ Rabat (Morocco/ guest of AMORES, June 2008), Shablul Jazz Club (Israel 2008), Janana Rhythm Festival (Israel 2008), Le Méridien Jazz Club (Paris) w/ The Duke Orchestra (2007), Festival des Cuivres du Monastier (France) w/ The Duke Orchestra (2007), Duc Des Lombards (Paris) w/Elizabeth Kontomanou and André Cécarelli (2007), Festival de Jazz de Toulon w/ Nicolas Folmer (France, 2006), Festival de Jazz de Terrassa (Spain) w/ the Luis Coloma trio (2006), La Cigale (guest of Elizabeth Kontomanou/ Paris, 2006), “Confluences”, Espace des Arts w/ Lionel Arthur (Le Pradet, 2006), Club Bleu Boeuf w/ Barre Philipps (Puget Ville 2006), Guest of Aldo Romano’s trio (Tregunc 2005), Internat des Enfants Nantais w/Lionel Arthur (Nantes 2005), Centre Franco-Guinéen de Conakry (Guinea, 2004), Tap Parade (Moscow, 2002), “God Bless The Child” Peace tour w/ Arnie Lawrence of Israel (2002), Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival (CA, 2002), Taegu International Dance Festival (Korea, 2001), French Embassy of Sri-Lanka (2000), Baiser Salé jazz club w/Ghislaine Avan (Paris 1999), Théâtre du Rocher (La Garde, 1996), Festival de Sommières (France,1995), Théâtre National de La Danse et de l’Image, Chateauvallon (France)/TELECOM event (1995), Suresnes-Cité-Danse 1995/Terre-Danse-Percussion (Paris), Concert w/ Andrea Ceccon (of Li Vocci Atrocci), Nave Italia (Genova, Italy 1995), Suresnes Cité Danse 1996/ artistic director of TOP TAP with guest Savion Glover, La Nef des Musiques (Toulon, 1995), Solo tour of Burkina Faso (West Africa, 1995), Festival de Jazz de Nice w/ Gérard Faroux and Bernard Abeille (France, 1995), Festival Jazz Is Toulon w/ Kendra Shank (France 1994), ResidenzTheater (Vienna, Austria /1994) , Rickiblick Theater (Switzerland, 1994) , Andino Theater (Vienna, Austria 1993), Agustinum Theater (Freiburg/Germany, 1993), Hot Brass Jazz Club de la Villette (Paris, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996) , Tagger Blue/ Theatre de l’Archevêchée (Aix en Provence/ France 1993), Le Chat Noir w/ Kalifa Diarra, Geneva (Switzerland 1993), Le Bateau w/ Kalifa Diarra, Geneva (Switzerland 1993), Toulon TownHall w/Doctor Jazz Society (France 1986)

Jazz Nativity (Birdland, w/ Benny Powell and Lew Soloff/Dec 08), Jazz Mania with Harvie S trio and Phil Wood (Tribeca Perofrming Arts Center, NYC June 08), Global Rhythm/ North-Western University (Evanston, Chicago 2007), ‘Jamboree’/ Beverly Arts Center (Chicago 2007), ‘National TapDay’Vittum Theater (Chicago 2007), ‘Naari’ The Woman’/ O’Shaugnessy College of Saint Catherine (St Paul, MN 2005), Teatro Zinzani (Seattle, WA 2005),‘Tribute to Gregory Hines’/ Annenberg Performing Arts Center (Philly, PA 2005), Jazz Alley (guest of Stanley Jordan/ Seattle, WA 2005), Festival International de Louisianne (NO 2005), Byham Theater, (opening for Bobby McFerrin/ Pittsburgh, PA 2005), Aaron Davis Hall (guest of trumpeter Joey Morant, 2005), Fall For Dance (City Center, NYC 2004), American Dance Festival (Durham, NC 2004), Clifford Brown Jazz Festival (Delaware 2003), Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors w/ pianist Andy Milne (NYC 2002) , Jacob’s Pillow, Inside Out series (2002), Downtown Battery Dance Festival w/Changing Times Cie (NYC 2002), New Victory Theater (guest of Urban Tap 2001), Yuletide Celebration w/Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (2001), Stamford Symphony Orchestra (Duke Ellington Sacred Concert 2001), Wetland Bluesgrass Festival 2000 w/ Ten Toe Percussion(Michigan), National Tap Dance Day 2000, New York City TownHall, Danny Kaye Playhouse (Duke Ellington Sacred Concert, NYC 2000), Jazz Bakery (L.A), guest of Jazz Tap Ensemble (J.T.E) 2000, Power Center, Ann Harbor (guest of J.T.E/ Michigan 2000), Ford Theater ,(L.A), guest of J.T.E 1999-2000 w/ Gregory Hines & Harold Nicholas, Joyce Theater (guest of J.T.E 1998 w/ Gregory Hines & 1999 w/Harold Nicholas), ‘Common Ground’, Cerritos Performing Arts Center (guest of J.T.E 1999), Music Center On Tour (guest of J.T.E 1999-2000), National Tap Dance Day 1998, New York City TownHall, Madhattan, NY NY Hotel (Las Vegas 1997/98), SOB’s w/ Urban Tap (NYC 1995), Tappin’ Time Newsletter Benefit w/ the Groove Collective , The Cooler (NYC 1994), George Gee Big Band, Metropolitan Café (NYC , ongoing 1994), Miller Theater, Tribute to Jimmy Slyde (Columbia University 1993), National Tap Dance Day 1993, Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC), Tribute to Honi Coles, (Murray Bergtraum High School 1993), La Cave jazz-club w/The Original Hoofers (on going from 1992 to 1995)

Casting director, choreographer, dancer for HSBC TV commercial (Istanbul 2007), Broadcasts on: NPR, WBAI, WKCR, WBGO (USA), Radio France International, Radio Bleue , Radio Canada (Arab, Spanish, English and French sections); Films : “Touch The Sound” (by Thomas Riedelsheimer, 2002), “Denis Charles/ An Interrupted Conversation (by Veronique Doumbé, 2000), “Fascinating Rhythm” (by Yann Leese for British Broadcast Television 2000). Director of the documentary film HOOFALOGIES ( cinéma Etoile de Mortagne au Perche/ festival des Danses Jazz, Janana Rhythm Festival (Israél), sala Nou Ivanoff/ Barcelona, Penn Academy/ Philadelphia)

Fund For Creative Community recipient 2005 , 2008 (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council)
New York Foundation For The Arts Fellow 2002, 2008
USArts International Recipient 2007 (Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation)
Meet The Composer 2007 (Creative Connection)
John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow 2006
Fund For Creative Community recipient 2005 (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council)
Arts International 2004 (in support of a project on excision led in West Africa)
Manhattan Creative Arts Funds 2003, 2004
Bessie Award For Outstanding Creative Achievement (Joyce Theater, NYC 1999)
Harkness Dance Space Grant recipient 2006

Roxane Butterfly

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