Maurice Chestnut infuses his classical rhythm tap training with hip-hop, funk, and soul, developing a performance style that brilliantly features tap as a musical instrument. Chestnut began dancing at the age of 5 under the direction of Mr. Alfred Gallman. By age 9 he became a professional dancer as a member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble, directed by Deborah Mitchell. He is currently principle dancer and choreographer with the ensemble. As a child artist, Chestnut was featured on Sally Jessy Raphael and earned a gold medal in the NAACP’s Act-So competition. At the age of 14 he was named “One of New Jersey’s Artists to Watch in the New Millennium.”
Chestnut was in the cast of the national touring company of the Tony Award–winning Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk with Savion Glover. He continued to work with Glover throughout his Improvographgy tour. Off-Broadway credits include Shades of Harlem, The Wiz, and Bubbling Brown Sugar.
As a solo artist, Chestnut is now working to further develop his signature style of “playing tap” as a live instrument. In addition to performing with his own band, he often tours as a guest with various jazz musicians. He has performed at many jazz festivals, including the JVC Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall and the Playboy Jazz Festival, and was crowned “Top Dog Performer” at the Apollo Theater.
Inspired by the hoofing greats, Chestnut dances with truth, soul, and power. Watching him dance is like walking through Harlem in the 1940s … while bumping a hip-hop beat.