M.A.D.D. Rhythms kicks off 20th season with King tribute

(Company announces plans for 20th season)

Chicago’s premiere tap collective, M.A.D.D. Rhythms, has announced its 20th Anniversary Season. In 2021, the company continues to make a difference dancing rhythms with its yearlong celebration featuring video premieres, special events coinciding with a new documentary and M.A.D.D Rhythms publishing debut, social media happenings, classes and the Chicago Tap Summit.

Bril Barrett, founder of M.A.D.D. Rhythms said, “For two decades we have been laying the groundwork for tap dance in Chicago and this year is an exciting look back on that journey. Our anniversary also allows us to share a sneak peek into the next 20 years and how we and tap will evolve!” 

M.A.D.D. Rhythms’ 20th Anniversary Season Includes:

January 2021 Now in Session – Online Tap Academy

The Tap Academy, being offered virtually, is the teaching arm of M.A.D.D. Rhythms and was founded out of the necessity to teach tap as a musical form of expression. Faculty includes Bril BarrettStarinah Dixon and the M.A.D.D. Rhythms family. Adult and Youth classes are available here


Monday, Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. –  Martin Luther King Jr Day “Let Freedom Ring (How Long)” M.A.D.D. Rhythms presents a spoken word video in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr Day

Let Freedom Ring (How Long) is directed by Megan Davis, edited by Javier Villamill and includes Ivy Anderson, Bril Barrett, Rachel Benzing, Tyler Booker, Time Brickey, Tristan Bruns, Kaytlin Bush, Megan Davis, Star Dixon, Alexandrya FrysonTorie Gray, Izaiah Harris, Donnetta Jackson, Devin Mosel, Carmen Paquette, Brennan Parker, Micah Sanders, Molly Sute and KJ Sheldon. Watch below:


ALSO READ: City announces $2.5 million arts fund


February 2021 Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, M.A.D.D. Rhythms will share videos and social media posts on all its platforms including Star Dixon’s “Rhythm Symphony;” a “Coming to America” tie-in; Donetta Jackson’s “Dreams and Nightmares” and videos about the black experience in America.


March 2021 Women’s History Month

In March, M.A.D.D. Rhythms will highlight women who have made an impact and influence the worlds of dance, theatre and other realms with a video premiere from KJ Sheldon and Donnetta Jackson.


April 2021 Jazz Appreciation Month

During April, which is Jazz Appreciation month, M.A.D.D. Rhythms will be sharing content that highlights international, national and Chicago legends of Jazz.  Thursday,


April 1 – April Fool’s Day

It’s April Fool’s Day and M.A.D.D. Rhythms will be creating a new video to be premiered. Stay tuned for something new, something original and something fun. 

April 29 – International Dance DayThe world will be celebrating dance and so will M.A.D.D. Rhythms with an original video to be shared with a global audience. 


May 2021 Celebration of Chicago Tap Dancers and others

In May, there will be two special events and many opportunities to share the magic of tap in conjunction with National Tap Dance Day and the anniversary of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s birth including:

M.A.D.D. Virtual Tap Experience

Back for its second year, the M.A.D.D. Virtual Tap Experience unites the dance community and celebrates the rich culture of tap dance. Held over two days, this May festival includes classes and performances.

May 25 – National Tap Dance Day

M.A.D.D. Rhythms with Chicago Tap Theatre will host performances celebrating this day of dance. 


June 2021 Chicago Dance Month

Coming this June, M.A.D.D. Rhythms  will be participating in Chicago Dance Month. Now in its 8th year, the month will feature performances, classes and events throughout June.


July 2021 Youth and Adult Tap Boot Camps

Back by popular demand, the youth and adult boot camps are three-day intensive camps offering participants of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to learn and enhance their skills in technique, choreography, history and culture with the M.A.D.D. Rhythms teaching artists.

Faculty includes Bril Barrett, Tristan Bruns, Andrew Carr, Megan Davis, Star Dixon, Alexandrya Fryson, Donnetta Jackson and KJ Sheldon.


October 2021 Chicago Tap Summit

The premier Illinois tap dancing event of the year presented by M.A.D.D. Rhythms is the Chicago Tap Summit. Returning in October with three days of dance, discussion and classes while celebrating the tap dance community.

Premiere of New Chicago Dancemakers Forum Project – Hoofin’ It: The Untold Story of the Founders of Tap

Hoofin It: The Untold Story of the Founders of Tap will be a trans-media experience encompassing dance pieces interspersed with historical footage and interview clips. Each piece will tell a specific story. Improvisation is a keystone of any jazz-vernacular art form and will be a centerpiece of the presentation.

Live instrumentalists, vocalists and dancers will work together as musicians. The libretto will be an academically rigorous collection drawn from the research process. Barrett will weave together these art forms and disciplines into one cohesive narrative: the story of the original founders of tap.


“Dancing On The Third Coast: Chicago Dance Histories” ReleaseBril Barrett and Ailea Stites of M.A.D.D. Rhythms are contributing the chapter, “Hoofin It: The Untold Story of the Founders of Tap” to the new book “Dancing On The Third Coast: Chicago Dance Histories,” edited by Susan Manning and Lizzie Leopold. The book is slated to be released this October.


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All events are subject to change due to any updates from the federal, state and local agencies regarding COVID-19.

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