Tap Dogs' Dein Perry on broken ribs, throbbing feet, and getting stitched up
Cape Town - Dein Perry’s electric live performance show titled Tap Dogs is coming back to South Africa for a series of shows starting in Cape Town on Wednesday, 22 August at the Grand Arena, GrandWest followed by Johannesburg on Wednesday, 29 August at Montecasino.
Tickets to watch the Australian performers dance their way into your hearts are available from Big Concerts.
Ahead of the show Channel24 gave choreographer, dancer and actor Dein Perry a call and spoke about how the show started; onstage injuries and eating right on the road as well as staying fit enough to put on incredibly high-energy performances.
HERE’S CHANNEL24’S INTERVIEW WITH DEIN PERRY:
FROM AN APPRENTICESHIP TO DANCING ALL OVER THE WORLD FOR SOLD OUT CROWDS
"Well I was a musical performer, after school I did an apprenticeship and I learnt tap dancing when I was younger, different style totally. I started doing musical theatre, like My Fair Lady and different things like that. Then 42nd Street came along and I started tap dancing in that musical again and I liked the sort of, musical finish.
"I liked what it took out of you to tap dance and I wanted to do it more but there was only one way that, that would happen and that was to make my own group. And we never really had any thoughts about it going overseas, that thought never really crossed our mind. The whole idea, really, was that maybe we can go in as a support act for a band or something like that, you know? Like a little bit of a novelty act.
"That was what the initial thought was, but it just grew and then people started to like it and people started to back us. And we kept expanding until we were a fully-fledged, full length show. Before we knew it, we had producers who wanted to take us to other cities and just kept happening and then here we are again (laughs)."
DEIN DOESN’T DANCE ON STAGE ANYMORE BUT HE REMEMBERS HOW HIS FEET FELT AT THE END OF A LONG NIGHT
"I am too old to do it (dance), but I can tell you: They (performers’ feet) throb, they sting, they get heated up. I can tell you after a long night all you want to do is get them (feet) up and into a nice bucket of ice cold water. I remember absolutely doing that. Yeah, it’s a tough show. It’s like playing football to a lot of them (the performers).
"I’ve had football players come see the show and say: ‘It’s not much different than what I do.’ And we say: ‘Well we don’t take the clashes you do.’ But there’s a lot of energy and you’ve got to be careful running around that stage with all the metal and sharp edges; you can come a cropper and hurt yourself. So, you’ve got to be a bit careful there. It’s a young man’s game, it’s a young sportsman game."
BROKEN RIBS, STITCHES, INSURANCE AND BRUISES
"Well, the show is insured obviously. We have tried to minimise it (injuries). In the early days – it was nothing – to finish a show and someone had to go get stitches in their arm or something like that. You get bruised up a far bit. You’ll kick your shin; there’s plenty going on. You’ve got to watch yourself or you’ll be on your backside pretty quick.
"I fell over one night and broke three ribs. And that was just bowing (laughing). You can be tap dancing flat out and you’ll be fine and then you’ll walk past something or take a wrong step and slip and hurt yourself that way. The guys have got to be so careful and totally warmed up and have your mind on the job. You can’t just slip into autopilot, it’s not the show for that."
HOW DO THE TAP DOGS EAT RIGHT AND KEEP DANCING FIT ON THE ROAD
"Any touring show, no one can really afford to tour with a chef, but basically that’s what it really should be. In any touring show it’s incredibly difficult to eat the right food. If you finish a show at 22:00 at night, you might not get your appetite until 23:00 or 23:30 that night or maybe midnight. There’s only rubbish around then. If you’re in a nice hotel you might get the night menu.
"It does get hard, but you keep fit doing the show so it’s what we call match fit. And leading up to the show you can do as much training as you want – it’s like a rugby player – you can be as fit as you want and faster than everyone else and you’ve got more stamina than everyone else or muscle than everyone else but that first game that you play, you’ll be a bit rusty; it’s sort of like that.
"It’ll be a bit better the next time and the time after that, so you’ve just got to keep working your way into match fitness. So, the boys, before a tour, will start hitting the gym, working hard because they know they’ll lose a bit of muscle on the road. And they’ll be really fit before we start rehearsal."
TAP DOGS SA TOUR 2018:
Venue: Grand Arena, GrandWest
Start date: From 22 August 2018
Price: R170 – R365. Up to 50% off all off-peak performances.
Start date: From 29 August 2018
Price: R160 – R415 * Up to 50% off all off-peak performances.