Savion Glover is an American dancer and choreographer who became known for his unique pounding style of tap dancing called “hitting.” He brought renewed interest in dance, particularly among the youth and minorities.
As a young child, Glover displayed an affinity for rhythms. At age four, he began taking drumming lessons. Deemed too advanced for the class, however, he then enrolled at the Newark Community School of the Arts and soon became the youngest person in the school’s history to receive a full scholarship. At age seven, Glover began taking tap lessons and quickly developed a passion for rhythm tap, a form that uses all parts of the foot to create sound. His talent attracted the attention of a choreographer for the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid, and Glover served as an understudy before taking the lead role in 1984. He returned to Broadway in 1989, performing in the musical revue Black and Blue, and was nominated for a Tony Award. A role in the motion picture Tap followed. Glover, who had long made a point of learning as much as he could from old tap masters, soon began teaching tap classes. He, also, developed his own tap style, which he christened “free-form hard core,” while working with dancers such as Gregory Hines, Henry Le Tang, and Sammy Davis, Jr.
In 1990, Glover created his first choreography for a festival at New York City’s Apollo Theater. Two years later he became the youngest-ever recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant. He portrayed a young Jelly Roll Morton in the musical Jelly’s Last Jam, which debuted in Los Angeles in 1991 before opening on Broadway the following year and touring in 1994. In 1995, Glover choreographed and starred in the musical Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk which featured a series of vignettes that chronicled African American history. Its premier Off-Broadway was a huge success, leading the show to Broadway. In 1996, Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk won four Tony Awards, including a best choreographer award for Glover.
His numerous other appearances included a regular role on the children’s television show Sesame Street (1990-1995). In 2000, Glover appeared in director Spike Lee’s film Bamboozled and in 2001 made an appearance in Bojangles, a television biopic of tap dancer Bill (“Bojangles”) Robinson starring Gregory Hines. He premiered “Classical Savion,” a production that featured him tapping to classical music in New York City in 2005. The show later toured the United States. In 2006, Glover choreographed the tap dances performed by the penguin Mumble in the computer-animated movie Happy Feet. That year, he also formed his own production company, which oversaw his HooFeRzCLuB School for Tap and produced later shows, including Sole Power (2010).
Glover returned to Broadway in 2016 to choreograph the musical Shuffle Along, or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, earning Glover a Tony nomination for this work.
Excerpts from the Encyclopedia of Britannica, Savion Glover