Minneapolis-born brothers Rick and Andy Ausland comprise the heart of Buckets and Tap Shoes, and they will bring their high-energy blend of music, dance and drumming from the streets of Minneapolis to the stage of Chalberg Theatre on January 26. As part of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center’s Cultural Arts Series, the show will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The Center’s director, Patrick Spradlin, calls the show a family-friendly evening of just plain fun. “This show was recommended to me by a fellow arts presenter,” says Spradlin. “They called it the most fun you could have in a single evening. After I checked them out, I wholeheartedly agree.”
The Ausland brothers were born and raised in south Minneapolis, and started taking lessons at a young age, training in jazz and ballet, as well as tap. After high school, Rick ventured to Los Angeles, where he auditioned for the hit show ‘Stomp.’ Although he didn’t earn a slot in the show, the experience triggered a desire in him to create something similar back in Minneapolis.
When he returned to Minneapolis, he and Andy gathered together a corps of like-minded dancers, and began working on pieces that they performed in dance competitions. They soon found they had a successful thing going, and formed the group Buckets and Tap Shoes. The group performed throughout the Minneapolis community, garnering critical accolades and amassing a huge following. They’ve danced at several Minnesota Fringe Festivals, and been nominated for the Minnesota Sage Award as ‘Best Dance Performance.’ The group won the Minnesota State Fair Open Division Talent Competition, and was voted ‘Best Dance Performance’ by City Pages.
The group had the great honor of performing on the next-to-last broadcast of ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ in 2016. In addition to their numerous appearances in Minneapolis venues Buckets and Tap Shoes has toured internationally to Austria, Finland, Ecuador, Malta, St. Thomas, Costa Rica, and Russia, as well as North American tours to over 30 of the United States.
The Auslands got their start as street performers, and they lug their banged-up 5-gallon paint buckets onto the stage just as if they were setting up to busk on a busy corner. After a boisterous jam session pounding out beats on these makeshift instruments, the duo get down to the seriously fun business of dancing.
A ‘Star Tribune’ review of one of their performances describe their act in this way: “Don’t let the Auslands’ loose manner fool you — these guys are hoofers extraordinaire. Each approaches the act with the classic tap-dancing stance of a relaxed upper body, but there are key differences in their styles. Andy is wicked fast, changing up his footwork with a hummingbird’s pace, spinning his body like a top, rising high onto his toes. Rick is quick, too, but he has a smooth aspect to his performance, throwing in the occasional effortless glide. He is also the source of the occasional pratfall, sight gag and magic trick.”
Critical praise has come from many sources. The ‘New York Times’ said of them: “utterly brilliant… they are virtuoso percussive players on, yes, buckets and extraordinary tap dancers, as capable of channeling hip-hop as Astaire-like suavity.” The ‘Denver Post’ lauded them for their “high-energy, high-voltage dance and music.” And the Charleston (S.C.) City Paper described their act in this way: “They use humor and wit and engage each other and the audience with their dancing, which is filled with foot work at breakneck speed. Percussion pours through them, and the rhythms of hip-hop, rock, and r&b spin through the air.”
Tickets for Buckets and Tap Shoes are available from the CLC Theatre Box Office at (218) 855-8199, and are also available online at www.clcperformingarts.com
The show is sponsored Prairie Bay Grill and Catering. The entire CLC Performing Arts Center season is made possible in part by an operating grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.