Capitol Tap & District Tap

Resident Companies at Knock On Wood

Photo credit:  PrimaDonnaPhotography
Photo credit: PrimaDonnaPhotography

Founded in 2010 by Lisa Swenton-Eppard and guided by directors Lisa Swenton-Eppard and Baakari Wilder, these young artists, ages 9 to 25, are trained in understanding tap as both an auditory and visual art. With an emphasis on a strong technical base, they learn and perform choreographed works and improvised phrasing. Their training includes specific instruction on becoming future professionals and tap instructors. 
They have performed in notable venues such as Wolf Trap (VA) and Symphony Space (NYC), television appearances on Fox 5 Morning News (DC) and ABC 7's Good Morning, Washington (DC), and guests at tap festivals including DC TapFest (DC), Jersey Tap Fest (NJ), and TAPFest (PA).  The repertoire consists of historical works from the original tap masters (Bojangles, Sandman Sims, Eddie Brown, Buster Brown, and more) to contemporary pieces from today's leading choreographers (Heather Cornell, Michelle Dorrance, Josh Hilberman, Sarah Petronio, Chloe Arnold, and more). 
Noteworthy company achievements include garnering two Metro DC Dance Awards nominations their first season, and collaborating with the 50-piece Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia for a full-length concert.  Capital One Small Business chose Capitol Tap for their Spark Plug campaign awarding a 30-second online ad and multi-week print inserts in The Washington Post.
Capitol Tap members have been awarded merit-based scholarships, booked for professional gigs/tours, and selected for the prestigious School at Jacob's Pillow for tap.   

Founded in 2016, District Tap is the sister ensemble to Capitol Tap, directed by Lisa Swenton-Eppard and Baakari Wilder. Comprised of advanced-level adult tap dancers, District Tap is focused on the preservation of historical works, creation of new works, sharing the art of tap dance, and developing artists who will lead future generations.

For booking and audition information for Capitol Tap and District Tap, please contact Lisa Swenton-Eppard. For additional information about the group, their performance schedule and more, please visit Capitol Tap & District Tap's website and their Facebook page, and you can also follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Article about Capitol Tap from Danceview Times

January 11, 2015

Separation, Integration
Capitol Tap’s 5th Anniversary Gala
Civic Center
Silver Spring, Maryland
January 10, 2015
by George Jackson 
© 2014 by George Jackson

In America today, tap dancing’s subculture resembles that of ballet somewhat. Both art forms organize the training of fresh talent around competitions. The presence of parents ballet dads and tap moms behind the scenes and in the audience is a crucial building block that gives both camps a middle class look. Racially, tap seems more truly integrated than ballet, at least along black/white lines. The gala held this past Saturday evening for tappers across the DC area featured several things in addition to performance. Items such as tap shoes were on auction. Instrumentalists from Sonova (the Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia) provided incidental music. There was a bar and a buffet. Two individuals were honored tap matriarch Yvonne Edwards and current tap star Baakari Wilder*. The founder of the Capitol Tap organization, Lisa Swenton-Eppard, had devised a festive way to start the still fresh and new year, 2015. Most of those delivering the tap moves and sound were in their early teens.
The young dancers were fully comfortable on stage, both when forming an ensemble and stepping out to solo. Discipline and cohesion did not prevent them from displaying personality. A heavier dancer was not afraid to funnel weight into emphasizing the power of movement. Thinner bodies strove to be supple. The group enjoyed working together. Stepping aside when it was time for Baakari Wilder’s solo, the fledgling artists kept him in focus. Tall, lean and letting rhythm show throughout his frame in an almost understated way, Wilder is a master of clarity. Each move, whether the Nth tap in a series or the flick of a wrist, is certain. Nothing mechanical, though, appears but only an organic wholeness, a ripeness, a rich luminosity. He phrases not in a showy manner but with a sly smile. Wilder makes not just dance movement but music. The tones that issue from his tapping are pristine, pure pearls whether strung together in a rapid run or solitary like the bell sound of a buoy out at sea.
Swenton-Eppard joined Wilder for an improvised two-some. Her long legs go well with his overall height. Then the kids flanked them for a finale. When the audience left the Civic Center, there was ice skating in the rink just outside the front doors, even though it was an extremely chilly night.
* Baakari Wilder received Washington Performing Arts Society’s Pola Nirenska award for achievement in dance during the year 2014.