Charlie Maybee is a music and dance artist hailing from Woodbridge, Virginia. An alumnus of the Metropolitan Youth Tap Ensemble (MTYE) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Department of Dance and Choreography BFA Program, Charlie is currently pursuing an MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He has been an Adjunct Instructor, Production Manager, Space Coordinator, and Accompanist for the UIUC Department of Dance as well as the Director of Dance Arts for the Champaign Park District. Charlie is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Polymath Performance Project: a multi-faceted collective of performers who embrace the notion of entangling many methods of making to create interdisciplinary performance artwork. Since 2014, his work has been shown nationally at events and venues such as Eden’s Expressway in New York, NY, Panoply Performance Laboratory in Brooklyn, NY, Links Hall in Chicago, IL, Richmond Dance Festival at Dogtown Dance Theater in Richmond, Virginia, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (KCPA) in Urbana, Illinois, and the American College Dance Association (ACDA) at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. He is currently researching creative processes where tap dance is the central medium of expression, and how to further integrate tap dance into the scope of contemporary performance and scholarly study.
I am a punk, a storyteller, and a tap dancer who centralizes tap dance as the root of creative research. My work doubles as a speculative retelling of tap dance’s rich history and an expansion of the genre through the literary devices of science fiction. As a musician, I am invested in the transgressive nature of punk music, and I combine it with my background in rhythm tap to create an abrasive, rhythmically complex, and fantastical approach to choreography.
My work is fundamentally cross-disciplinary and emphasizes the skill of translation. I believe tap dance to be an alternative form of physio-musical conversation that departs from verbal, or textual language. There’s a sensorial shift that happens in my work where the visual, the audible, and the touchable become intertwined in a unique mode of synesthesia. I’m interested in my performers being able to not only see and hear each other but feel each other sonically. The vibrations the performers create a different way of relating to and finding each other. There is physical contact without much skin-to-skin contact.
My company, Polymath Performance Project, is where I explore the hybridity as a making method. I’m interested in exploring the tap dancer as an intersection of dance and music; body and technology; composted cultural knowledges. My collaborators tend to transgress disciplinary lines of thinking and making; especially as dancers, musicians, actors, and writers.
I want to break with some of the classicisms of tap dance regarding time and space. I question the fixity of rhythm and explore time porously by integrating non-metric or momentum-based sense approaches to making phrase work. This is not to say that I eschew rhythm altogether. Rather, it becomes a consequence of physicality. I am also interested in tap dancers engaging with alternative spatial configurations like floor work and non-frontal presentation.
I also want to exaggerate some of the peculiarities of tap dance like its relationship to objects and technology. My artistic practice is intimately attachment to technology, objects, and alternative definitions and modifications of tap shoes. Plywood, guitars, stomp box effects, sneakers, patch cables, amplifiers, microphones, drums are all essential and utterly dependent upon each other. Likewise, in my work, the floor acts as the trifecta of the drum head, the canvas, and the weight bearer.