Steven Harper’s career spans over three decades during which he worked as a dancer, choreographer, teacher or producer in over a dozen countries of North and South America, Europe and the Middle East. Although he works mainly within the framework of tap dance and percussive dancing, he has also choreographed for theater plays, operettas, musical theater, circus, cinema, television and for famous Rio de Janeiro carnival parade (Mangueira and Salgueiro samba schools)
Steven grew up in several countries and started dancing in Geneva, Switzerland. He began his professional career in the late 80’s in New York City, taking part in several productions and dance companies, notably Mercedes Ellington’s Balletap America, and teaching tap at Steps on Broadway. He moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1991 and established himself as one of the major driving forces behind tap dancing in Brazil. He created and directs the Tap in Rio Festival, with his partner Adriana Salomão, now in its 20th edition, an event known to have boosted the careers of many local talents. He lives in France since 2019.
Over the years, he has taught workshops or master classes in places such as UCLA’s Dance Division (Los Angeles), Debbie Allen Dance Academy (Sarah Reich’s Monday night Tap Experience, L.A.), ODC in San Francisco, the NYC Tap festival, DC Tap Fest, Luthier Dansa Professional Tap Training Program in Barcelona, Dusseldorf’s Tap Days festival, Montpellier’s Tap festival, Paris Tap Fest and many more. In all he has taught over 200 workshops.
He created several shows, many in close collaboration with musicians and other dancers. Jungle Tap!, a duo with acoustic bass player Bruce Henry, was presented on numerous stages from 1996-2010, including at the Montreux Jazz festival in 2000; Zus Catatrus (2006) was a collaboration with the world renowned Brazilian drummer Robertinho Silva. The Steven Harper Company was active from 2000-2015 and created diverse works, staged throughout Brazil in theater runs and tours. Solo, he performed in galas, dance festivals, corporate events and other settings, such as the All Stars evening of the New York City Tap Festival in 2002. He also highlights the Duke Ellington Sacred Concert, performed with the Minas Gerais Big Band at Belo Horizonte’s the Palacio das Artes, in 2013 and 2014. Starting in 2014, he presented the show Saguibatu, with tap dancer Adriana Salomão and musicians Mark Lambert, Jimmy Duchowny and Pedro Aune. More recently, he was featured in France in the show Legends and Friends, together with Barbara Duffy, Fabien Ruiz, Guillem Alonso, Lynn Schwab and other tap dancers and musicians.
His style, although grounded in tradition, is strongly influenced by the music, percussion and dance of Brazil and the search for contemporary artistic paths for the art of tap dance. He also teaches body percussion, percussive dancing and musical awareness.
Steven is fluent in French, English and Portuguese, with a working knowledge of German and Spanish.