Buckets & Tap takes over Vail’s Hot Summer Nights
VAIL, Colorado – Buckets & Tap Shoes, who play in Vail Tuesday, started out with brothers Rick and Andy Ausland smacking on buckets to imitate their drum-playing father. The boys danced and tapped their way through their youth, competing in national dance competitions. The band eventually grew to five members, four of whom are performing a free show at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Tuesday night. The group has been in town for over a week, performing at the Vail International Dance Festival. The group – Dan Ristrom, CJ Vanderpoll and Rick and Andy Ausland – will be joined by the HYPE Dance Company from Minneapolis Tuesday night. Rick Ausland and CJ Vanderpoll took some time to answer a few questions for the Vail Daily over coffee last week. Vail Daily: So why buckets? Rick Ausland: My brother and I were drumming on buckets in the backyard because we didn’t have a drum set. My first drum set was an Animal set (the puppet from Sesame Street), and I broke it because I was hitting it like Animal would. We entertained the neighborhood. Then we went out to Santa Monica in 2001 and we had a group of people play buckets and stuff. On the Third Street Promenade of Santa Monica we learned about the street performance aspect. We brought it down to the raw elements. Then taking what we had from the street, we made a performance of it.VD: So what is your show like? Who plays what and who dances when? CJ Vanderpoll: It’s like a performance. There’s a structured element to it but it’s non-stop movement. We start off with a percussion cadence, or a Mardi Gras combo move, and then we just jump behind each other. It’s like jumping into a car and hitting the gas. RA: It’s all about the rhythm and then Andy and I will come out and tap dance. … It’s hard to describe. You really have to see it. We hop around different instruments and stuff. It’s really energized. VD: The artists that influence your work range from hip-hop artist Outkast to classical genius Mozart. How do you combine these styles in your work?RA: I suppose it’s just like you soak all of these things up, and when you are creating things, certain things come from different areas. I had a Mozart CD that had all different things on it. Tap shoes can’t hit elongated notes, and if you think of the floor like a drum and your feet are drumsticks, Andy and I do that together and it’s a cool way to show how we can choreograph things. The hip hope influence, well, it’s hard not to be influenced by hip-hop … But with other stuff, there’s always a pulse to a song. You start to see how everyone was influenced by everyone else, especially in the origin of tap. And as you go back, you see that the people of today are doing the same thing that everyone did before. VD: Who or what is your daily inspiration to get through your energetic shows?RA: A lot of times I think of people that are amazing at what they did but aren’t here to do it anymore. Because dance is alive, you have to create it right in the moment and you have to have people perpetuate the art form. You can’t pick up dance like a painting and take it with you. I feel like my grandparents give me energy, because I think of what they went through to be who they were. People will get pulled into rhythm. If it’s something that’s good with a great beat and awesome rhythm, everyone will be into it. Rhythm demands attention.CJV: I get it from anything, from playing basketball or golf. Just lifes moments and it teaches me to just chill… Plus seeing these guys [the Ausland brothers] perform. I just get pumped because it’s just such a high-energy show. Once you connect with the audience, you can see that they are having a good time and it energizes you more. VD: Which is easier: performing in national dance competitions as children or performing in front of a large audience as adults?RA: We were lucky as kids to have a dance studio and a supportive network that way, so when we performed, we had people already there for us. Now we don’t have the same built-in audience, but it’s similar. The time on stage is much more now. Not only are we doing a high-energy show, but we start loading into the venue and it takes four or five hours to get sound checks and stuff, and then we eat dinner and then perform. Then we have to take everything down. CJV: It’s a 13-hour production, when you think about it. It’s a long day, but it’s worth it.
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