It’s not everyday a young dancer outshines a master choreographer.
In 2011, 6-year-old tap dancing prodigy Luke Spring amazed audiences at the DC Tap Festival. His mastery of complex moves was shown in the way he effortlessly mirrored his teacher and famous dancer, Justin M. Lewis.
“They had every person in that house on their feet and going crazy,” Chloe Arnold, a co-founder of DC Tap Fest, told The Washington Post.
Prior to the 2011 festival, Spring was featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he stole the hearts of viewers with his soft spoken answers and loud tap moves.
Spring told DeGeneres his favorite move is “over-the-tops.”
“Wow! You’re really incredible,” DeGeneres said to then 7-year-old Spring, before giving him a pair of orange tap shoes.
Since then, Spring has stunned television audiences on “So You Think You Can Dance” and theater patrons in the off-broadway production of “A Christmas Story, The Musical.” In July 2013, he placed third in the Mini Division (7- 10 year-olds) at the New York City Dance Alliance’s National Outstanding Dancer competition. He has also performed at the Tony Awards; Ford’s Theater Gala; the Fred and Adele Astaire Awards; and Radio City Music Hall for the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S4, according to an article in The Washington Post.
“Luke’s future is beyond bright,” Arnold told The Washington Post. “I see dancers all over the world, and I’ve never seen a kid like Luke. He’s executing sounds with power, force, rhythm clarity and speed. He’s just phenomenal.”
Spring’s mother tells The Washington Post, Spring began dancing after the 4-year-old found a pair of tap shoes in the lost and found of his sisters’ dance studio. He began making the same noises with his feet, as he made with his hands on the drums. It was clear from the start, Spring was a natural talent.
Justin M. Lewis, Spring’s teacher since 2009 and dance partner at the DC Tap Fest in 2011, said in an interview with The Washington Post, “How do I teach a prodigy and make him better than he already is?”
One way, Lewis told The Washington Post, is by telling him the names of historic tap dancers to research.
“YouTube may have made Luke famous, but it’s also a reason he’s so good,” reports The Washington Post.
Lewis may also be to credit. Like Spring, Lewis began dancing at age 5, after watching “Tap” with Gregory Hines, according to Inferno Dance. A D.C. native, Lewis was a member of Tappers With Attitude, with whom he danced at the Lincoln Theater, Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Blues Alley, The Smithsonian, National Corcoran Gallery, and The Apollo Theater in New York City, among other venues.
As a teacher-student duo, Lewis and Spring are unstoppable.