women of rhythm
Sally Dashwood is a Sydney gal who spent most of her time growing up in a dance studio in Hornsby. One of the first styles she learnt was tap, and it has been her favourite ever since. She was taught by many of Australia's finest tap dancers and would watch them perform in shows like Dein Perry's Tap Dogs and Hot Shoe Shuffle. Sally couldn't WAIT to be in a show like these one day. There was just one problem. These shows were made up of entirely male casts (except for Rhonda Burchmore in Hot Shoe...but Sally knew she would never have those legs).
Fast forward to 2015 and Sally was considering entering a reality TV show contest with a dance act. What better way to kick the dream off than auditioning, achieving Australia-wide fame, a huge social media following and embarking on subsequent tours performing around the country! It didn't quite happen like that... Girls On Tap weren't successful in auditioning, but not one to let a little set back hold her down, Sally kept chipping away at the dream, training week in and week out with other like-minded tap ladies and finding new cast members along the way, until in 2017 Girls On Tap premiered with a SOLD OUT show at Cabaret in the Glen at Glen Street Theatre in Sydney.
"So Girls On Tap is my answer to shows like Tap Dogs", says Sally. "These were shows that were so inspiring to all young tappers in Australia, male and female, but then you wake up one day, a professional dancer, and there's so little opportunity in tap because you are a female". "These shows were so great for young male dancers who were often bullied for what they loved to do, because all of a sudden there were these butch, Aussie, blokey men tap dancing on stage in Blundstone boots and flannies, but now it's time for the ladies to have the floor."
Sally worked hard to find the right mix of people. "I wanted Girls On Tap to mean more than just getting into the studio just to rehearse and do a bunch of gigs, it is much more special to me, it's my baby, and I also wanted to be inclusive of all females that want to tap dance and were willing to work their butts off to improve and to work together well. I knew if we were going to put ourselves out there as the female tap dance company of Australia, then we had to be just as good as the boys."
Perhaps it is this strive to make it as a tap dancer in a male-dominated industry in Australia that echoes through, but the ladies of Girls On Tap celebrate gender equality. Together we represent females from all backgrounds in all shapes and sizes from all over the country. When you see our main-stage theatre show, you see us take a look at life for a female and where we stand in the world. We've decided it's not looking too crash-hot, so we're putting our foot down (literally) and saying it's not good enough.