"Can We Tap That," Spring Show, 2017
Lifelong tap dancer Leo Lamontagne arrived on Northwestern University’s campus in September of 2001. After getting acclimated to the dance department and to student life, he saw a gaping hole in the landscape of Northwestern University performing arts student groups: there was no group solely dedicated to the art of tap dancing.
Determined to fix this travesty, pay tribute to his Boston-area background (apparently pop = soda = tonic in Lawrence, MA), and set up an ever-so-slightly quirky tone for the group, Leo founded TONIK Tap in October of 2001.
After performing in various small shows on campus to prove its staying power, TONIK received ASG B-Status in 2003, setting the company up for its breakthrough year—and also its founder’s last year at NU!
Leo sent TONIK off with a very successful first full-length show, “Tap That,” performed in the TIC Ballroom by the seven-member company.
Riding on the founder’s vision momentum, sophomore Jaema Berry took on the position of Artistic Director and led the company through its next three formative years. Necessity is the mother of all invention, they say, and many of the challenges the company faced in those early years have become its trademarks.
We are now in our 22nd year at Northwestern, and TONIK is a proud member of StuCo, or the Student Theatre Coalition at NU.
How does one make a full show of tap dancing that doesn’t get old? Storytelling choreography. How does a tiny company manage costume changes without downtime? Skits and prerecorded video clips. How does a specialized group last on an arts-infused campus? By standing for professionalism and working with as many people and organizations as possible— from partnering with Dr. Eberhard on his Halloween show, to developing an ongoing relationship with ASG student officials for the brand-new B-Status funding process, to off-campus performances for the Evanston and Chicago communities.
And how does TONIK Tap keep going strong? By doing what they do best: making rhythm and having almost too much fun doing it.
Who Are We?
TONIK is Northwestern University's one and only tap dance group. We have auditions during the fall and throughout the year, we choreograph our own work and perform at various Northwestern and Chicagoland events. Also we teach free classes throughout the year so anyone can come and tap with us!
Every year we produce two shows on campus. For the 2016-2017 school year, TONIK Tap presented "Graffoniks in 3D" a collaboration show with Graffiti Dancers in the winter, and "Can We Tap That?" for TONIK's annual spring show. We have tapped with a cappella groups, contemporary dancers, filmed a music video, and we've even tapped on contact explosives. What can we say, tap is life!
"TONIK Trash" Class of 2019
"The Pursuit of Tappyness," Spring Show, 2008
"What's On Tap," Spring Show, 2009