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HISTORY OF THE ATDF
The American Tap Dance Foundation started out as the American Tap Dance Orchestra.


Founded and created in 1986 by artistic director and choreographer Brenda Bufalino, along with Tony Waag, and the late Charles "Honi" Coles, the ATDO created an original approach to tap dance with a concert orchestra of taps.
Committed to celebrating one of America's few indigenous art forms, the ATDO created new concepts in contemporary tap employing a wide spectrum of musical tones and rhythms in the manner of a conventional orchestra.  As with instrumental soloists in a big band, individual dancers contribute their own virtuosity to the choreography, so that the whole becomes the sum of each dancer's unique style. The choreography for the ATDO, though encompassing tap’s tradition, expands the ideas of routines and flash, five-minute entertainments into whole evenings of work. Conceptually developed themes were woven into fugues and counter-rhythms with atmospheres and poetic qualities that offered a complete art experience.

Continuing to explore contemporary tap dance, the ATDO made significant contributions to theatre and dance by creating and presenting monumental new work. Programs such as "The American Landscape", "Touch, Turn, and Return", "The Four Seasons/Jazz Version", "The Gershwin Suite", "Wrap Around Sound", and "Gertrude’s Nose" (a tap opera), brought tap dance to a higher level of appreciation.

Performance highlights include PBS' "Great Performances /Tap Dance in America", A Night of Tap at the Apollo Theatre, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the International Festival of the Arts at Central Park, the legendary Cotton Club, the Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, and the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival.

The ATDO also toured extensively in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  Other ATDO highlights include the Atlanta Arts Festival, the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, the Utah Arts Festival, and the Colorado Dance Festival.

International appearances included performances in Turkey, Cypress, Poland and the Baltic States (through the United States Information Agency), the Bermuda Arts Festival, a tour of Germany, a national televised Gershwin special in Rome, Italy and the "Nit de Claque" Festival in Reus, Spain.

Contributing to the evolution of tap dance, the ATDO also presented numerous educational programs year round at the legendary Woodpeckers Tap Dance Center from 1989-1995. Programs there included ongoing youth and adult classes, workshops and tap intensives with master tap dancers, concert performances, tap jams, film presentations and lecture demonstrations.

In 1995, the ATDO has created a sister organization, the International Tap Dance Orchestra.  The purpose of the ITDO was to re-introduce tap on an international scale while expanding the original concept of the American Tap Dance Orchestra.  The ITDO dancers were as diverse as the many countries from which they came, including Germany, Holland, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Japan, and the United States. Ms. Bufalino and ATDO dancers joined the ITDO for a tap dance festival October 13th - 21st of 1995 in Furth, Germany.

In 2001 with a new generation of tap dancers and enthusiasts, the Orchestra was renamed the American Tap Dance Foundation, Inc. under the artistic direction and leadership of Tony Waag.

List of Activities:        1986 - 1995         1996 - 2005         2006 - 2015           2016 - Present