Artistic Director: Barbara Phillips
Celebrating Our 16th Season
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The Ensemble provides an enrichment program in addition to your own studio classes. Dancers from across the city represent their schools, studios and community serving as ambassadors of American tap dance!
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San Antonio Based RPM Tap Ensemble Provides Opportunity For Young Hoofers To Work With Some Of The Most Renowned Tap Dance Masters & Choreographers From Around The Country. The Company Provides Educational, Leadership And Performance Opportunities, Exploring This Unique American Art Form And Its Musical Roots. RPM Youth Tap Ensemble Made Its Debut Performance At The Dallas National Tap Dance Day In Spring Of 2002.
The Company Has Appeared At Third Coast Rhythm Project, Soul To Sole Festival Showcase, And Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s “Great American Youth Tap Ensembles Concert”. Select Members Traveled To China To Perform During The 5th Annual Beijing International Dance Festival, In December 2007. The Ensemble And Other Dancers Performed “JUBA! Masters Of Tap,” Before An Audience Of 2,900 People In The Historic Beijing Exhibition Hall. The China Performing Arts Agency And The Ministry Of Culture Extended This Invitation To The Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) To Organize This Tap Extravaganza.
They Have Enjoyed A Collaboration With Austin’s “Visions In Rhythm” And Have Been Guest Artists Appearing In “Everything On Tap” In Dallas, Black History Month Celebrations In San Antonio, And “Tribute To A Legend”, Honoring Arthur Duncan At Radius In 2007. RPM Presented Their First Solo Concert In May 2003, Celebrating National Tap Dance Day, And Now Host The Annual Event Collaborating With Youth And Adult Ensembles From Across The State.
The Company’s Diverse Repertoire Includes Works By Tap Masters Lane Alexander, Acia Gray, Steve Zee, Dianne Walker, Nicole Hockenberry, Jason Samuels Smith, Heather Cornell, Barbara Phillips, Jason Janas, Lisa La Touche, Travis Knights, Tasha Lawson, Derick Grant, Jay Fagan, Michelle Dorrance, Harold Cromer, Ayodele Casel, Keith Terry, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, STEP AFRIKA, And The Legendary Buster Brown And Honi Coles.
The Company Is Dedicated To The Legacy Of The Masters, Creating New Innovative Works, And Passing It On To The Next Generation. Preserving, Sharing, And Celebrating The Universal Language Of Rhythm!
…The Standout, However, Was RPM Youth Tap Ensemble From San Antonio…. Their Sense Of Rhythm And Volume Was Complete And Clean, And The Synchronization Smart. The Dancers Advertised Their Enjoyment, While Their Ease Spoke For Itself.
~The Dallas Morning News
RPM Youth Tap Ensemble Offered Wonderful Ensemble Work In “Cool” From “West Side Story”. They Were An Ebullient Reminder Of The [Festival’s] Goal To Pass On This Unique American Art Form To The Next Generation.
~The San Antonio Express News
…They Were Totally Present Physically And Mentally,Which Made The Audience Love Them All The More…
~The San Antonio Express News
RPM Has Been A Wonderful Opportunity For Our Daughter. She Has Had The Opportunity To Learn Tap From Outstanding Professionals And Wonderful Performers. RPM Has Provided Her With The Opportunity To Collaborate With Talented Performers From Across The Country And In Texas. Barbara Has Built A Positive And Collaborative Environment For Dancers Of All Ages To Flourish. At Third Coast, Dancers Experience A Talented, Friendly Staff Who Are Genuinely Interested In Helping All Individuals Reach Their Dreams. Thank You So Much For Being The Beacon Of Light In Our Lives.
Assistant Rehearsal Director
Keaton is a multi-disciplined dancer and performer with an extensive background in ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, and rhythm tap. Keaton has been dancing at the age of three, but most notably are her several years of tutelage under the direction of Barbara Phillips. Through dancing with RPM Tap Ensemble since 2007, Keaton has studied with inspirational professionals including Acia Gray, Dianne Walker, Lane Alexander, Katherine Kramer, Tasha Lawson, Martin “Tre” Dumas, Derick Grant, Lisa La Touche, Nicholas Young, Michelle Dorrance and many others. In addition to RPM, Keaton enjoys passing on the traditions of tap to the next generation as a tap instructor and choreographer in studios including San Antonio Dance Academy since 2016.
In 2012, Keaton was selected by Michelle Dorrance as an understudy in Dorrance’s suite that was performed in JUBA! Masters of American Tap Dance presented by Chicago Human Rhythm Project at the Eisenhower Theater in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Keaton was the first recipient of the Rhythmic Souls Tap Scholarship awarded through the Dance Council of North Texas in 2012. In 2014, Keaton was also awarded the Buster Cooper Tap Scholarship through the Dance Council of North Texas.
Keaton has appeared in numerous concerts and events including Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s JUBA! at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Third Coast Rhythm Project’s Jazzed on Tap, Sole to Soul’s Participant Showcase, Houston’s Space City Tap Festival’s Showcase, and as a soloist in the Dance Council of North Texas’ Before-the-Show Show.
Keaton currently attends the University of Texas at San Antonio where she is majoring in Psychology/Pre-Dental and minoring in Biology. She is also a 2015 Terry Scholar, UTSA Distinguished Presidential Scholar, and is a founding member for the Iota Alpha Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi. She is currently a Registered Dental Assistant and hopes to pursue a future in healthcare in addition to her dancing.
Shelby Atherton tap dances her way through part of everyday – just for the fun of it. A native of San Antonio, her early dance education began at age three with the study of ballet, jazz, and tap. By first grade, tap became her favorite dance style though she trains in ballet as well. She is one of the founding dancers for the St. Luke’s Episcopal School dance program, under the direction of Paula Gorman, where she attended middle school. In the St. Luke’s Program, she performed as a tap soloist as well as in group tap and ballet routines. Additionally, Miss Atherton acted as an assistant tap instructor for St. Luke’s younger dancers.
Beyond the dance studio, Miss Atherton is very involved with her school activities and academic life. She now attends the International School of the Americas and is a sophomore there. She is involved in the Student Government as an advertising officer for her class. She is a regional and state winner in the Junior Classical League competitions. Shelby is very involved with her school’s Latin Club. Shelby is a Silver Award earning Senior Girl Scout. Her academic accomplishments include Outstanding Student Award, the Frances Finkbeiner Award for Scholarship, Leadership, and Citizenship; and the St. Luke’s Way Leadership Award.
This year marks Miss Atherton’s fifth of dancing with the RPM Youth Tap Ensemble. She is very grateful for every opportunity to study and perform with tap masters. She gives many thanks to Barbara Phillips and the talented group of young dancers that embody RPM.
John is a 16-year-old multidisciplinary musician and dancer focusing on tap. In addition to studying tap through Third Coast Rhythm Project and dancing with RPM under the direction of Barbara Phillips, John also studies tap, jazz, ballet and hip-hop at Earle Cobb Dance Studio under the direction of Dena Mabry. He is also an Instrumental Music major at the North East School of the Arts in San Antonio.
John started dancing in San Antonio at age 4 and quickly demonstrated a passion for tapping. Raised in a military family, he continued dancing and performing with each move the family made. In Alabama, he studied dance at the Kelly School of Dance where he learned to tap “Gene Kelly style” under the direction of Kathy Burk. From 2008-2013 John won numerous awards and scholarships at regional and national dance competitions and conventions in the Southeast, including being named “Mr. Pre-Teen Solo Starmaker” in Myrtle Beach, SC, in June 2013 for his first-place performance of “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” John has studied hip-hop with Vince Johnson in Dothan, AL, and has attended many convention classes throughout the country learning jazz, ballet, hip-hop, tap, lyrical, and contemporary styles of dance from many notable professionals in the field.
John has also used his various talents in three productions with the Missoula Children’s Theater— “Jungle Book,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “The Wiz of the West.” In 6th grade, John won the lead role of Mowgli in his school’s performance of “Disney Kids’ The Jungle Book.” John has also performed as a soloist at several civic functions by request in Alabama. In 2011, John and several members of the studio competition team participated in the Orange Bowl half-time show and worked with choreographer Bonnie Story to perform as dancers backing the Goo-Goo Dolls.
John now a sophomore as an Instrumental Music major at the North East School of the Arts as a classical guitarist and saxophonist and has been a part of many of their performances. He works with the orchestra, using the saxophone in the place of an oboe and has recently composed his first guitar duet for nylon string and electric guitar. John has returned to San Antonio and hopes to further develop his tap dancing skills while pursuing his talents in instrumental music. John is an all-around musician with a keen sense of rhythm who sees tap as another instrument to be used in his repertoire which includes the previously mentioned instruments as well as piano
John wants to perform as much as he can. When not dancing or playing for the NESA Orchestra, John spends his time furthering his instrumental technique and personal artistic choices, researching different musical forms, and composing non-specific musical pieces yet to be released on an instrument.
Adrianna is a junior and high honor roll student at San Antonio Christian High School. She began dancing at the age of 5 and has received training in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, and hip hop. She was a member of CoMotion Dance Company and later a member of the San Antonio Youth Ballet. She was also a member of the RPM Youth Tap Ensemble for two years before taking a hiatus to recovery from injury. Her love of tap brought her back to perform with RPM once again. As part of this group, Adrianna has participated in several tap festivals including Third Coast Rhythm Project, Soul to Sole, and Chicago Human Rhythm Project where she has been privileged to receive instruction from many masters in the tap community. Adrianna has also made guest appearances with RPM Youth Tap Ensemble at spring concerts and festivals held in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas.
When Adrianna isn’t dancing, she’s running. She’s currently a member of the San Antonio Christian High School track team and cross country team. As one of the top 5 runners on her cross country team, she ran in both the district and state races this fall. Her team had a successful year by placing 3rd at the TAPPS State Championship race in Waco, Texas.
Reagan Harmon has been dancing for 14 years at Kathy Marfin’s Dance School studying Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Modern, Contemporary, Musical Theater, Cheerleading and Tumbling. She is now in her 9th year as member of the Leading Edge Dance Company. She has won many top awards including, Student of the Year from Tremaine, Rainbow’s Teen Dancer of the Year finalist, and won the title of Ms. Dance Icon for Thunderstruck. She has also been awarded Outstanding Tap Student and Student of the Year by her studio. Reagan is home-schooled and will graduate this spring a year early.