As announced earlier, we are now officially sponsoring the brilliantly talented Lee Payne. His theatre credits include Riverdance, Singing In The Rain and Magic of The Dance, Bouncers, Jekyll & Hyde, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Hamlet. You might also have seen him on Top Of The Pops, the Des O’Conner Show, Got To Dance and numerous broadcasts of his Riverdance performance on television stations all over the world.
Read our interview with Lee to find out more about his passion for dance, how it all started for him, along with his story and upcoming projects.
Lee Payne, Got To Dance 2012
So Lee, tell us more about yourself and why you love tapping?
I started watching old movies with all the great hoofers like Jimmy Slyde, Bunny Briggs, Sammy Davis Jr, Chuck Green…etc when I was 4 years old. I loved it! Listening to all the different styles of music made my love for music grow. The more I listened, the more I wanted to sing… but I wanted to sing with my feet! When 2 hoofers are together, it then becomes like a conversation of rhythm.
How did you get into tap dancing?
I started tap dancing when I saw the Nicholas Brothers perform their amazing duet in the film “Stormy Weather”. From that moment, I just knew that it’s what I wanted to do.
Who are your current inspirations?
I still look back on all the great Hoofers for inspiration but at the moment I also very much enjoy watching Michelle Dorrance. Breaking it down with a beautiful flow really helps me to create and compose new ideas and tunes.
Speaking of composing new ideas and tunes, what’s the creative process behind setting up a performance?
So many people have different ways of setting up a performance. Depending on the kind of show I am putting together, I will take the format (Cuban night, Corporate event…etc.), put together a music programme and then work the hoofing around that.
Any favourite tap step?
I don’t have a favourite step… I get more enjoyment from all the steps once put together in a beautiful lyrical pattern.
You were a semi-finalist on Got To Dance, what did you think of this experience?
It was an amazing experience and I’m so glad that I performed on the show. I was a great profile builder and I hope it has let people know that there are new tap shows are out there.
Of all the performances you’ve done, which was one was your favourite?
I would have to say that my favourite would be my semi final piece. I was able to tap and be myself. It was great!
Do you have a word of advice for dancers who’d like to go on the show?
Always be true to yourself and do your thing. Whether you win or lose, the only way you can improve your dancing is by believing in what you’re doing, your creative ideas and put them out there for others to enjoy.
Lee Payne - Got To Dance
Great advice! Can you tell us more about your company Bruckfeet productions?
Bruckfeet Productions is being built for performers with new ideas to be able to get a chance to develop and hopefully get their idea up and running. It’s in the early stages and I’m working out my new ideas to get some capital behind the company thus helping others. There are so many talented people out there that don’t always get a chance… I just want to help them get that chance.
The company has a long way to go and a lot to do: teaching, filming, performances (arts/media) are the areas that I will be looking into, not just going down the Tap route but all styles of dance. Acting - from TV to film. Artists - from Painters to sculptors. With the collection of talented people that I have been bringing together, there will be very soon a whole new catalogue of talented people with amazing ideas.
What projects are you currently working on?
At the moment I am working on the 2012 London Olympics. I’ve also been putting a lot of time in my band “Vinx and the Groove Heroes” and my Duet. There will definitely be big things coming soon!
You seem to be a very busy man. What’s a typical day like for you at the moment?
Well I’m on my own putting Bruckfeet Production together as I have to lay the foundations first before I can move forward. So I’m handling finances, publicity, artists, acts and more every day. Between paperwork I enjoy spending time with my 2 beautiful daughters and choreographing. My days are pretty much nonstop!
Any plans to rest this summer?
Well, this summer I am hosting the Cotton Club over in Ireland. The ambience of the jazz vibe is amazing and I always feel at home. So if you can make it, please come along: Friday 10th August from 8:00pm until 2:00am at the Grand Social in Dublin. It’s going to be a thrilling night of world class Tap Dancing and Hot Jazz with the Cotton Club House Band and Truly DiVine. Tickets available here: http://entertainment.ticketsolve.com/shows/873483973/events I hope to see you all there!
Sounds exciting! We’ve got one more question for you: people often ask what they should wear for tap dancing. What would you recommend?
I would say a nice light but strong pair of trousers that allows you to move and be flexible. A T-shirt is always a good choice and on the feet I only swear by Capezio’s K360.
Thank you Lee for your time and best of luck at the Cotton Club!
Sky 1's Got To Dance