StepCrew and its cast of 11 combine three styles of percussive dance, featuring the world’s top talents in Irish, Tap and Ottawa Valley Stepdancing. It is a pure celebration of dance, showcasing each traditional form while creating what Jean Butler of Riverdance called “a unique and seamless blend of all three.” The company takes the audience on a journey from a house party in the back kitchen of an old Irish cottage to a lamp-lit street in New York City to a French Canadian lumber camp in Quebec, using nothing more than their talented feet.
Nathan and Jon Pilatzke, brothers, spent their summers like a lot of young Canadian children, traveling around the province competing in fiddle and stepdance festivals. They grew up to be among Canada’s leading Ottawa Valley Stepdancers and along the way, they met Cara Butler, a multiple Irish Stepdancing champion and principal Irish dancer for the famed Chieftains for two decades. The three went on to create a new dance production company, StepCrew.
They have a not-so-secret weapon in the musical ensemble that performs with them and has everything from Canadian champion fiddle players to some of the most sought-after musicians in the Celtic, folk and rock genres. They have performers from the likes of the Chieftains, Cherish the Ladies, Loreena McKennit, Carlos Nunez and Bowfire. Among them is Alyth McCormack, a native of Scotland, whose vocals contrast the vigor of the dance but act as a soundtrack inspiring it.
The show itself takes the audience on another journey, through a varying array of textures from high-energy dance to haunting vocals, groovy music, complex choreography and comical props. The StepCrew was designed to highlight staging and musicality and the pure talents of solo performers with nothing more than their feet, instruments and voices to reach their audience. They offer everything from the bluesy origins of tap to traditional Irish and Scottish music and modern day Celtic fusion.
Six-time Grammy winner Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains said it this way: “The StepCrew does not simply draw their audience in, they take them by the hand and remind us what dance is meant to be about - fun!”