Theater & art


Grace Cannady is ready to go tapping through life

Grace Cannady.
Grace Cannady.

Age: 11

Hometown: Westfield

Think of: The precocity and dance skills of Shirley Temple combined with the deadpan confidence of Sara Gilbert on “Roseanne.’’


What caught our eye: Cannady’s showstopping performance at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in “Tappin’ Thru Life: An Evening With Maurice Hines’’ in May. A talent who began dance training at age 3, Cannady is the youngest active member of the Boston Tap Company, headed by founder and artistic director Sean Fielder.

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Light bulb moment: “I would always watch my sister Brianne dancing. That’s what started me to be a tap-dancer. She’s the one that made the light bulb go off for me.’’

Biggest thrill: “The show ‘Tappin’ Thru Life.’ I didn’t know until a week before the show that I was performing.’’

Biggest surprise: “Before I went into the Boston Tap Company I used to go to the rehearsals. My sister Brianne would bring me. And what surprised me the most was how people from all over come together and have fun tap-dancing, how they help each other with steps, and how they look out for each other. They’re like family.”

Inspired by: “First of all, Sean Fielder, my choreographer. He has taught me all the skills I have today. He acts as family. When we’re rehearsing, he doesn’t get mad if you don’t get a step. We’ll take it slow, go through it. He acts like a friend. He’s inspired me for everything: for school, for activities. Some other inspirations are Michelle Dorrance, the Hines Brothers, the Manzari Brothers. [Dorrance] inspired me to be myself, not like a Broadway hoofer, just be myself. She’s very strong, enlightening, cool, kind: just an all-around great person.’’


Aspires to: “My ambition is to become a famous tap-dancer, and to learn as much as I can from other great tap-dancers, and just pass that on to the next generation of tap dancers.’’

For good luck: “When I’m performing with Boston Tap Company, we have a show circle where we join hands, and they squeeze your hand, and it goes all the way around in a circle. We will pass the energy to somebody’s hand till it gets back to the person who started it. ’’

What people should know: “That I’m Lil’ Bit. That’s my nickname, ’cause I’m always the smallest person in a tap-dancing class. I come out of this little tiny package.’’

Coming soon: The Boston Tap Company performs in “Rhythm in the Night,’’ July 21 at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester.


Interview was condensed and edited.