The mood of George T. Nierenberg's documentary film "No Maps on My Taps" is elegiac; tap is seen as a dying art. However, in a program at Wolf Trap last night, Nierenberg's No Maps on My Taps and Company proved that tap is very much alive and creatively flourishing. The inspired accompaniment of Danny Holgate's Jazz All Stars prodded the dancers to match their own verve and elegance.
The program highlighted the substantial variety of styles practiced within the tap form. Buster Brown's limbs played from his body in an arobatic demonstration feturing high kicks, struts and splits. Rightful heir to the finesse of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Bunny Briggs floated above the floor in a "tap" routine that was danced to produce no sound.
The rubbery legs of Sandman Sims were in constant motion during his signature sand dance. The slide and stop-on-a-dime antics of Jimmy Slyde evoked the balletic elegance of Fred Astaire.
Standing almost still in his oversized, boxy shoes, Chuck Green produced a barrage of taps that seemed to come from nowhere. He was a one man band, an orchestra in a pair of feet. The divine awkwardness of Green in his extravagant wings and levitating heel clicks gave him a Jimmy Durante charm. Dancing is clearly as ecstatic an experience for Green as it is for the audience privileged to see him.