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Arts & Culture

Khalid Hill: Storytelling Through Tap Dancing

Courtesy of Khalid Hill.

Khalid Hill is a professional dancer who lives and teaches tap dancing in New York. This week he’s an artist in residence at UNC Charlotte and he’s performing multiple times throughout his stay. Hill says tap dancing is more than a performance; it’s storytelling with a beat.

Thirty-five-year-old Khalid Hill has performed up and down the country and in front of notable artists and politicians like Maya Angelou and Hillary Clinton.

But when his mother decided to get him involved in dance when he was about five, it wasn’t because she thought he had an inherent talent for it.

"I was clumsy as a child," Hill says. "And these days in schools if you’re clumsy or have some gross motor problems they just evaluate you. I guess then, it was like ‘alright let’s roll with it and put him in dance school.’"

And it stuck. Hill has been tapping for about 30 years. 

He says tap has taught him patience and persistence and it’s an outlet.

"It’s a very honest art form because we improvise most of the time when we perform. So whatever I’m feeling where ever I’m at, it comes out in my dancing and I’m able to channel my frustrations through it," Hill says.

He says there’s something more to the beat of his taps.

"We’re always telling a story and we’re always singing a song. It’s not just a bunch of shuffling across the stage."

Hill tells his story through tap at UNC Charlotte in The Purple Flower and Other Plays which starts Wednesday night and runs through Sunday.