Michela Marino Lerman live from Small’s Jazz Club in New York on Coral FM

That’s Michela doin her Jazz Tappin thing at Small’s. Pic courtesy of The New York Times. Below Michela at Smalls. Pic by Coral

Michela Marino Lerman 001


 Michela first appeared on Sesame Street at the age of 5.  In February 2002 she was showcased on the cover of Dance Teacher magazine with Gregory Hines. In 2005, she was named by Dance Spirit magazine as one of the 20 hottest tap dancers under 20 and in 2008, Dance magazine named her as the only female tap dancer in its “25 to Watch in 2008.” Michela performs annual as part of Tap City (NYC Tap Dance Festival) and the Tap Extravaganza, and is the artistic director for Cobi Narita’s Tap Extravaganza Quens. She was born, raised, and continues to live in New York City.

She won first prize in the Harlem Jazz Dance Festival’s, “Hoofer’s Challenge” in both 2002 and 2003. In 2002, Michela performed with Jennifer Holliday on Broadway in Nothing Like A Dame and also in 21 Below at Town Hall. In 2003, she was inducted into the famed tap dance fraternity “The Copasetics” as their first and only female lifetime honorary member.  In 2004-2006, Michela toured Spain and Japan with Rafael Amargo’s Enramblao.  In the fall of 2005, her choreography was featured in the tap section of the opening number for the Bermuda Music Festival with UDP, starring Al Green, Angie Stone, and Patti LaBelle.

Michela began her touring career at the age of 14, when she travelled with the Cab Calloway Orchestra throughout the Northeast and Florida.  At the age of 19, she was commissioned by Dixon Place to create and direct her own show, entitled AM+bu$h+ED.2007 saw Michela tour Europe for 3 months as a lead dancer in the show Magic of the Dance.  In 2008-2009, she was featured in the show “Wonderland,” an all tap show set to Stevie Wonder’s music choreographed by Ayodele Casel and Sarah Savelli.

In 2008 she appeared on CBS’s Secret Talents of the Stars with Grammy award winning singer Mya, performing the choreography of Emmy award winner Jason Samuels Smith. From 2007-2008, Michela was a featured lead performer at NYC’s hottest nightclub, The Box. She also has performed with the Roy Hargrove Big Band and Quintet at the Jazz Gallery and the Village Vanguard.  Over the past several years, Michela has performed throughout the West Coast and in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, and Turkey in addition to tap festivals in Canada, New York, and Flint, Michigan.

The American Tap Dance Foundation commissioned Michela to produce and direct her second show, entitled Tapsploitation, which was presented a second time by HarlemStage. Recently she has been co-creator in forming the tap dance company The Tap Messengers who performed at the CareFusion Jazz Festival with Talib Kweli and Nicholas Payton with the Revive Da Live Big Band, Joe’s Pub, and HarlemStage opening for Marcus Strickland.  Her newest group is Sole Society, which has just debuted at Matthew Garrison’s ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, collaborating with the Marcus Strickland Quartet, and appeared at the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival with Revive Da Live. For the past 4 years, Michela has hosted the only weekly tap jam in NYC at Smalls Jazz Club, collaborating some of today’s most gifted young jazz musicians including Joe Sanders, Ben Williams, Justin Brown, Harold O’Neal, Sullivan Fortner, and Burniss Earl Travis, to name just a few.  Michela also hosts monthly tap jams at Fat Cat.

 Michela is grateful for the mentoring and guidance given to her by Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, and Leroy Myers. She has taught in numerous schools, studios, programs, and festivals throughout the globe. As a performer, teacher, director, and choreographer Michela is dedicated to spreading the art of tap around the world.

Michela was the first interview I did when I went down to New York. I met her at the legendary jazz club Smalls! in Greenwich Village.  Tap Jazz is cooolomundo! – Coral FM.