Photo by: Gregory RR Crosby
Linda Sohl-Ellison - Daphne Areta - Aaron Pardini - Taryn Chavez - Aaron Williams
Hailey Bundrant - Aaron Chavarria

Tim Messina: woodwinds - Joe Rotondi: piano - Chris Blondal: drums
Monti Ellison: percussionist / composer - Bob Fernandez: percussion - Bruce Stone: bass

Jimmy Fisher - Steve Zee - Arthur Duncan - Bob Carroll
*Past guest artists include: Althea Waites: pianist - Leo Chelyapov: clarinetist/composer
I Nyoman Wenten: percussionist and members of the Balinese Gamelan "Burat Wangi"



Linda Sohl-Ellison - Artistic Director and Choreographer of Rhapsody In TapsLINDA SOHL-ELLISON, Artistic Director and Choreographer, co-founded Rhapsody In Taps with Toni Tack in 1981. Linda has a BFA from Ohio University in Dance and Graphic Design and an MA from UCLA. Her training includes studies under the great tap masters Foster Johnson, Eddie Brown, Honi Coles and Buster Brown. She collaborated with Gregory Hines, staging and performing in his first choreographic work, Toeing the 3rd and Fifth made for Rhapsody In Taps in 1990. Recognized for her choreographic innovation in tap, she has been awarded five Choreographers’ Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Irvine Fellowships in Dance (1999, 2001) and a 2006 Dance: Creation to Performance grant from the James Irvine Foundation. In 1999 Linda was nominated for the prestigious Alpert Award in Dance. She has received Artist’s Fellowships from the California Arts Council, Arts Council for Long Beach, Public Corporation for the Arts, National Association for Regional Ballet, and California Community Foundation. Ms. Sohl-Ellison received a 1st place choreography award from the Palm Desert Choreography Festival (2003), a Lester Horton Dance Award for Outstanding Choreography from the Dance Resource Center and a Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio University (2006), a Milestone Award from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for more than 25 years of performances, programs and arts leadership in Los Angeles (2007) and a Tapestry Award from the Soul to Sole tap festival in Austin Texas for 30 years of contributions to the field of tap dance (2010). A full-time Professor of Dance at Orange Coast College since 1978, Linda teaches many dance forms, directs the annual student dance concert and mentors dancers with professional career goals. Her film credits include the movie TAP, and three documentaries: Thinking on their Feet: Women of the Tap Renaissance, You Gotta Move and JUBA. Linda has toured the United States, Asia, France and Germany teaching and performing as a soloist, with Rhapsody In Taps, and with her husband, percussionist Monti Ellison.

Daphne Areta

DAPHNE ARETA, has a BA in Communication and a Masters in Liberal Studies from USC where she currently works as full time staff with the School of Architecture. Her dance training includes twelve years of intensive study at Freddie Finn Dance Studios in Riverside, CA where she taught tap, jazz, and lyrical for eight years, in addition to tap studies and master classes with Joey Letteri, Jason Samuels Smith, Greg Poland, Linda Sohl-Ellison and others. She is also on the dance faculty at Orange Coast College where she teaches beginning tap. A trained vocalist, Daphne was a member and featured soloist with the New America Singers choir with whom she toured Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, and Australia.

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Photo Coming Soon AARON PARDINI, has an A.A. in Fine Arts in Dance from Orange Coast College. This is his sixth season with RIT. His tap influences are Heather Cornell, Linda Sohl-Ellison, Sarah Reich and Steve Zee. He has also trained at summer intensives including: L.A. Tap Festival, Heather Cornell’s Intensive, Sarah Reich’s Tap Music Project, Tap Kids, and the Maui Tap Festival. Aaron has performed in Tap Overload’s Office Beat at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, Laguna Beach’s Pageant of the Masters, Dance for Life with the Melinda Sullivan Dance Project, Waiting in the Wings: the Movie Musical (2014), and in several Tap Overload videos. Aaron is also a member of the Straight No Chaser Trio, an acappella trio featuring tap dance, percussion, and vocals, and teaches tap dance at Momentum Dance Center, Dance Works, Capistrano Academy of Dance and the Pacific Ballet Conservatory.

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TARYN CHAVEZ, Founder and Executive Director of Avanti Dance Company in Costa Mesa, works as a guest teacher/choreographer throughout Orange County and performs annually as a soloist at the Benefit for Holocaust Survivors in Laguna Woods. She performed in Debbie Allen’s Pepito’s Story, at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, trained at the Dance Center with Cindy Beckett, studied tap for 10 years with Christy Hernandez and was a founding member and lead choreographer of Arreis Dance Program at Newport Harbor High School. Taryn studied with Linda Sohl-Ellison at Orange Coast College from 2004-06 where she received an OCC Student Dance Award for her choreography and performance. Taryn is the mother of two beautiful children.

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Photo Coming Soon AARON WILLIAMS, is an accomplished percussionist, tap dancer, pianist, composer, jazz musician, vocalist, and teacher, originally from Kansas City, Missouri. After receiving his BA in Commercial Music & Percussion Performance from Missouri Western State University, Aaron moved to Los Angeles where he has been teaching and performing. His recent work includes headlining the 2015 International Jugglers’ Association (IJA) Cascade of Stars show in Quebec City, Canada with Collision of Rhythm, tap dancing in Coca-Cola’s America the Beautiful commercial that premiered during Super Bowl XLVIII and aired during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and performing at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater in New York with Bronkar Lee, “the world’s only rhythmic juggling beatboxer!” Aaron taught advanced tap at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa; he currently teaches music at Children’s Community School and is a company member of Linda Sohl-Ellison’s Rhapsody In Taps.

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Daphne Areta

HAILEY BUNDRANT, started her tap dance training at the age of three with Nancy Kindorf at Kindorf Dance Studio where she also later studied jazz, ballet and contemporary dance. At Conlin Dance Academy she studied with Ryan Lohoff. Other influential teachers include Shawn Kindorf, Christy Hernandez, Rashida Kahn, Mike Wittmers, and Catherine Gray. As a student at Orange Coast College she studied tap with Linda Sohl-Ellison for two years, and performed in the OCC student dance concert. She performed locally from 2010 - 2013 as a member of Leverage Dance Company, a contemporary dance company under the Artistic Direction of Tawny Chapman. Hailey currently teaches tap and other dance styles at Impact Dance Center.

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Daphne Areta

AARON CHAVARRIA, currently teaches tap at the Orange County School of the Arts-Commercial Dance Department as well as several studios in Orange County. His tap training includes studies with Greg Poland, Ayodele Casel, Laurie Johnson, Mark Goodman, Cory Finn and many others. His performing credits include: Oliver, Grease, Annie, Peter Pan, The Sound of Music, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, and many more with the On Stage Theatre Company and West Coast Opera Theatre. As a dancer and singer, Aaron performed in Cabaret at the Maverick Theatre in Fullerton and toured with Headliners. He was a guest performer with L.A. Dance Magic in Final Cut Dance Concert in 2007 and 2009 and co-choreographed and performed in the U.C. Irvine Medical Center’s breast cancer awareness video, Baby I’m a Star.

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Tim Messina

TIM MESSINA, Music Director and woodwinds, studied at the Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. He also studied privately with clarinet virtuoso Eddie Daniels and saxophonist George Coleman. In addition, he had the good fortune to work with Dizzy Gillespie. Tim has recorded with Tony Bennett, Prince, U2 and Bob Dylan, various film soundtracks and has played in the pit orchestras for numerous shows on Broadway including Cabaret, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Dream Girls and Sophisticated Ladies. Tim currently tours with the Brian Setzer Orchestra as sax soloist and musical director.

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JOE ROTONDI, pianist, began studying piano with his father, Joe Rotondi, Sr., at age five. A Grammy Award winner, he has toured internationally and with many Latin jazz greats: Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, Poncho Sanchez, Paquito D’Rivera, Alex Acuna, Nestor Torres and with renowned Salsa artists Celia Cruz, Israel Cachao Lopez and Giovanni Hidalgo. Joe was the regular pianist on the Paul Rodriguez TV show. He has performed with Doc Severinsen and with pop acts, Jose Feliciano, Vikki Carr, and Ricky Martin. His recording credits include CD’s with Herb Alpert, master congero Francisco Aguabella, Tolu, KLON Latin Jazz All stars, Latin jazz violinist Susie Hansen and Pete Escovedo. Joe recorded two albums with the famous Mexican composer, Armando Manzanero, is featured on Linda Ronstadt’s Grammy Award winning album, Frenesi, and can be heard on the soundtracks of Dirty Dancing and Mambo Kings.

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CHRIS BLONDAL, drummer, was born in the Pacific North West and started playing drums at the age of 4. Training began with the principal percussionist for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and later with Joe Porcaro, Alex Acuna, David Garabaldi, Richard Wilson, Carlos Vega and Joe LaBarbera. Chris has performed and recorded with Mark Isham, Chris Standring, Pete Christlieb, The Diamonds, Bo Diddley, The Coasters and the nationally touring production, I Love Lucy Live on Stage. He has recorded on many film scores including: Fight Club, Nurse Betty, Gun Shy, Wild Wild West and The Slums of Beverly Hills. Chris currently leads his own Jazz trio.

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Monti Ellison

MONTI ELLISON, is an accomplished percussionist/drummer, composer and vocalist. He has performed worldwide as a soloist with Harry Belafonte, Stephanie Mills, Lonnie Liston Smith, Little Steven and others. As a dance musician he spent 15 years at the Alvin Ailey School in New York where he was head staff musician. Monti teaches African dance and drumming; he is an accompanist and/or faculty member at Loyola Marymount University, Orange Coast College, CSU Long Beach and The Wooden Floor. He has composed numerous dance scores: Judith Jamison’s Divining for the Alvin Ailey company, a percussion score for the New York based Urban Arts Corps’ production of Alice in Wonderland directed by Vinette Carroll and choreographed by Talley Beatty, J5A6Z7Z8 for jazz choreographer Jose Meier, as well as Dat’s Right, Espiritu, Riptide, Stroke of the Oarsmen, Deciduous Dances, Wade, Chugarump, FOIL/Copper, Zinc, Brass, Ode To Hummingbirds and Boot Brigade for Rhapsody In Taps, plus many compositions for the Monti Ellison Percussion Ensemble.

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Bob Fernandez

BOB FERNANDEZ, is a world-class percussionist. He has received degrees from CalArts and did Doctoral work at USC. He has studied Afro-Cuban music with masters Pedro Orta, Francisco Aguabella and Angel Bolanos, and traditional and contemporary styles of Cuban percussion with Maestros Changuito and Roberto Viscaino. Bob is presently on the faculty at California State University, L.A. where he teaches Afro Latin and Classical percussion. He has worked with John Cage, John Adams, Frank Zappa and did a three-year tour with Barry Manilow. Bob has performed on numerous feature films including Nightmare on Elm Street Part II, Murder in Texas, Rapid Fire, Virtuosity and Species, and also commercials for Lexus, Microsoft and DHL. He most recently authored a book The Afro-Cuban Folkloric Musical Tradition - A Practical Guide for Percussionists.

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Bruce Stone

BRUCE STONE, on upright and electric bass, is originally from southern Arizona, has a number of television and film credits such as The Byron Allen Show, Married With Children, Ghost Dad and The Naked Truth. Bruce has recorded with Henry Mancini, Brian Bromberg, Keiko Matsui, Theodore Bikel and others. Additionally he has performed in major theatrical productions including Five Guys Named Mo, Company and Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris. Bruce continues to perform locally and on tour with artists including Burt Bacharach, Keiko Matsui, Connie Stevens and Terry Wollman, and he has many years of experience in dance accompaniment.

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Bob Carroll

JIMMY FISHER, Jimmy Fisher (Guest Artist) studied tap dance with Joy Hewitt and others before becoming a tap improvisation soloist at Anaheim Disney’s New Orleans’ Square, working with numerous bands for several years. He performed with Rhapsody In Taps, the Jazz Tap Ensemble and various shows and industrial gigs across the United States and Europe. Jimmy was a featured dancer in the first national tour of Caution, Men at Work: TAP, and he danced on the Gregory Hines’ Show. He is presently exploring the musicality of tap dance through his free Tap Ninja website at http://www.tap.ninja, from which his free Tap Ninja smartphone app may be accessed on the App Store and Google Play. Jimmy is also presently developing a new website concept dedicated to the exploration of foot percussion through unedited tap dance improvisation, accessible at http://www.unpolishedexpression.com.

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Steve Zee

STEVE ZEE, has danced with many noted tap dancers including Gregory Hines and the Nicholas Brothers. He has been a member of Rhapsody In Taps, a featured soloist in the Jazz Tap Ensemble, an artist in residence at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project and has performed and taught across the United States, Canada, Brazil and Germany. Steve edited the Oral History/Biography of tap master Stan Kahn, which is on file at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum and he has made three instructional tap videos. As a theater artist, Steve trained at UCLA, the Sorbonne/Universite de Paris III and with the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. He is currently on faculty at Cal State Long Beach, the Culver City High School Academy of Visual and Performing Arts and is the Artistic Director of LA Ironworks, a new nonprofit arts organization for young aspiring tap dancers.

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Arthur Duncan

ARTHUR DUNCAN*, is a tap dancer, vocalist and actor who has performed throughout the world. He was a featured personality in the movie, "Tap," starring Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis, Jr. and toured in the Broadway show "My One and Only" with Tommy Tune. Arthur joined Bob Hope on several tours, performed both at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. His television credits include guest appearances in "Diagnosis of a Murder" with Dick Van Dyke, "Columbo" with Peter Faulk, and was a regular on the weekly "Lawrence Welk Show," to name just a few. Arthur is a dedicated mentor and shares his experiences through lecture demonstrations and master tap classes.

*Arthur Duncan is available on a limited basis for guest appearances with Rhapsody In Taps.

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Bob Carroll

The late, great, BOB CARROLL (Sept 28,1966 - Oct 13, 2014) was a soloist and company member with Rhapsody In Taps from 1994-2011. His credits include tap in film, television and stage productions. His mentor was the late Louis DaPron. Bob was a former member and soloist with Manhattan Tap and was part of the original cast and touring company of Caution: Men at Work Tap. He worked as a tap coach/advisor for 20th Century Fox Studios and with many noted choreographers including Heather Cornell, Alfred Desio, Twyla Tharp, Don Chrichton and Debbie Allen. He danced in an L.A. based rock and roll tap show, Scuffed Up. Bob taught workshops in the U.S. and Japan and also enjoyed hiking, camping, and playing drums.

For more information please visit our Honoring Bob Carroll page.

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