LA C& D Repertory & Reviews
Photo credit: Los Angeles Times
- "Al Desio's tap dancing perfect, staccato and vibrant" Houston
- "Jazzy, complex, unaccompanied routine that defined tap musicality...brilliant...absolutely dazzling."
Lewis Segal, Los Angeles
- "immediacy and excitement...fascinating" Gillian Rees, Los Angeles Herald
- "a stunning tap-out" John C. Mahoney, Los Angeles
- "When Desio dances, the focus never shifts to any part of the stage that does not embrace his
personage...the expertise of a master." Jerome Robinson, Daily
- "Desio is a tap dancer. His billing is The Dancing Fool. That and the news that he dances in front of an
abstract painting painted by himself leads you to suspect a spoof. Not a bit. He's very serious and very
good. He works to Bach as well as jazz with every measure clean and alive and part of a larger pattern
that grows ever more complex, like a Henry James sentence.
He closes by videotaping an improvised piece and then tapping out a counterimprovisation, live,
as the tape rolls on the screen. This has the flair of a New Orleans jazz cutting contest, but there's also
something of the metaphor about it, a suggestion of certain conversations one has with oneself. Desio is
the thinking man's tap dancer." Dan Sullivan, Los Angeles
- "The delighted fascination that seems to drive the Los Angeles-based Mr. Desio to explore these high-
tech extensions of traditional tap also informs his...dancing. His intricate, deft footwork and his ease are
compelling. But in the end it is the cagey exuberance of this leprechaun tapster that makes the work so
enjoyable." Jennifer Dunning, The New York
- "Desio displays an amazing range of pitch in his taps, devises delicate rhythmic variations dotted with
slides, scrapes, and flutters. Getting faster and lighter, but not louder, the dancing and drumming whip
their intensity into a galloping chase." Burt Supree, The Village Voice, New
- "Desio's premiere Flight of the Foo Birds, to music by County Basie, is a wildly colored (bright
green pants, blue jacket and orange and pink lighting,) fluttery solo of an exotic, side-leaping avian.
An engaging showman, Desio teases his audience in his hefti-Hefti, wisecracking right and
left, as he ultimately draws his (very willing) audience into humming along to Neil Hefti's Cute. A
slow beginning but the solo picks up as he sings out a phrase, then taps a snippet in response. And when
he slides as though on ice, feet crossing as though skating, the work's lighthearted play is simply gleeful.
Capriccio Stomp, with the most straightforward tapping, is marvelous; Desio is under
complete control as rhythms rattle out with machine-gun speed and his emphases shift."
- "Radiating the most heat of the evening was the premiere of Desio's Brandenburg Boogie, for
which he was joined by four personable young tappers from Colburn Kids Tap/L.A. In a solo full of
satisfying synchronicity, Desio did what we all long to do - keep up with the Bach beat. And in a
traditional tap lineup, all five dancers whipped through clever, quirky canon and unison steps."
Jennifer Fisher, Los Angeles
- "Desio, a Broadway vet, is probably the most inventive tapper in the business. He devised an electronic
system that allows the dancer to produce all kinds of musical and percussive sounds with his feet, just as
a keyboardist would play an electronic keyboard. Now having perfected this system, he is still inventing
new ways to use it...One of Desio's most appealing attributes is the pleasure he seems to get from his
dancing. It's contagious! Everyone feels a little better about things after sharing one of his
performances." Helen Peppard, Daily
- "Desio is the first known tap dancer to wire his feet electronically. Every time he takes a step on the
"zapped taps mat," the mikes in the soles of his shoes send shimmers of hollow, mesmeric sound
through the synthesizer and back out to the audience.
Imagine a human body made of aluminum bones, and imagine that you can hear inside this body,
inside its bones. The effect is fantastically eerie; we travel to places in the body hitherto considered
unapproachable. We become insiders, and for the first time we can sense a dance unfolding from the
dancer's point of view; from his muscles." Sasha Anawalt, Los Angeles Herald
- "Alfred Desio is a Los Angeles tap-dancer who virtually invented a new approach to tap, electronically
wiring the soles of his shoes so that with each rat-a-tat-tat the sound goes through a synthesizer and
emerges more like rat-a-boing-whang-pop. It's wonderful...His performance is not only a contagious
joy, it's a true technological amazement." Sasha Anawalt, Los Angeles Herald
- "What made Zapped Taps special, apart from the sheer excellence of the dancing, was Mr.
Desio's innovation, Tap-Tronics. In this concept, each dancer uses electronically amplified tap shoes.
Transducer microphones in a tapper's shoes are wired to a transmitter either hand-held or places in a
pants pocket. The tap sounds are relayed to a receiver and can go through special effects modules, a
number of synthesizers and other electronic equipment. There is a special effect due to performance: the
music is developed and changed by the dancer at the moment that the dance takes place. Basic elements
include the tap sounds, any electronic devices and the material that the composer has pre-programmed
into the sequence." Marlene Harding, Show
Business, New York
- "Watching hoofer Alfred Desio plugged into his Zapped Taps, one can't help but recall the scene in the
movie Big when Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia dance out Heart and Soul on a
gigantic keyboard. The melodies and rhythms Desio creates are far more complex than any ditty by
Hoagy Carmichael (the sound of Desio's taps trigger preprogrammed electronically synthesized music,)
but the free-spirited innocence of the bit is right on.
The high point of Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers' seven-part program,
presented Sunday afternoon at USC, was watching associate director Desio dance three electronic tap
solos - Sounds of Electricity, (Sronx) Pino Copy 4 and Midi Two-Step. Desio
has been experimenting with his Zapped Taps technology (the trademark is his)for several years, and he
has finally perfected the medium for theatrical performance."
Jody Leader, Daily News
CHOREOGRAPHY BY DESIO
Copyright (c) 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, & 2009 by Louise Reichlin; all rights reserved. These pages may not be used for financial gain. These pages may not be used for commercial collections or compilations without express permission from the author. (Louise Reichlin, Southern California Dance and Directory)