Scott Hynes with The Grown Ups and Kite Flying Robot
10 p.m. Saturday
51st Street Speakeasy
1114 n.W. 51st
Putting a tap dancer in front of a rock ‘n’ roll trio makes a statement. Then to pull him in as a fourth instrument that doesn’t just click and clack away, but whose every stomp, slide and jump is in step with the percussion, well, that’s a quick way to stand out in the local bar scene. The band is The Grown Ups; the dancer, Scott Hynes.
Hynes can be found throughout the metro, tapping dents into an old, weathered, wooden box, whether gigging with The Grown Ups, hoofing for theater companies or appearing at Makers on the fourth Sunday of every month with Kabaret Falschtanz.
“I’m kind of a rhythm tapper, which is all about the rhythm and how it fits within the music,” Hynes said. “If you combine the hoofer style and the rhythm tapping, it makes for a well-rounded tap sound you can do with almost any music. If you can feel that beat and dance with a passion, you won’t have any problems.”
Hoofing is dancing primarily with the legs and has had a long line of notable practitioners, from Gregory Hines to Savion Glover. Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly were known for a Broadway style of tapping they incorporated into other forms of dancing “ a style generally more accessible to beginners. Hynes has since moved to a more complex style so difficult that it takes four years just to become proficient, and 20 to 30 years to master.
It’s all about technique, he said, and putting in countless hours learning the endless combinations and deviations of each step so they can be recalled instantly, especially when improvising.
“Most dancers have pocket steps … that we can pull out of pockets that we know what the rhythm is,” he said. “One of my main goals as a tapper is to expand my repertoire of pocket steps so when I hear music, I can I look for something within my repertoire of pocket steps that will work.”
Having a deep mental catalog of steps is critical when performing with The Grown Ups, since drummer Derek Harris, sticks out a call-andresponse number where Hynes uses his feet to match Harris’ hands.
“Tap is more about how you look than what you do,” Hynes said. “So when he makes a rhythm … I know six or seven combinations of steps that will make that sound, so I pick the one that will look the coolest.”
Hynes hopes to open a studio one day, but for the time being, he enjoys expoing tap to new audiences.
“Even if I never leave Oklahoma City and am just performing in bars across the city, that would be fine because I still get to tap,” he said, “and as long as I’m tapping, I’m happy.” “Charles Martin