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Doris Duke Artist Awards


Tap Dancer and Choreographer
New Jersey

Dormeshia, a 2021 Doris Duke Artist in the dance category, is a dynamic tap dancer and choreographer who has been hailed as “the queen of tap” by The New York Times.  

Dormeshia has accumulated many accolades over the past several decades, including a Bessie Award in 2012 for “outstanding performer” in Jason Samuels Smith's work “Chasing the Bird” at The Joyce Theater. In 2019, she returned to The Joyce Theater with her own critically acclaimed “And Still You Must Swing,” a dance piece she conceived for the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2016. Dormeshia has been a longtime staple at the festival since 1993 when at the age of 17 she performed with the Los Angeles-based Jazz Tap Ensemble and has since appeared with Dorrance Dance at the Pillow in “The Blues Project.” Since 2017, Dormeshia has been a co-director of The School at Jacob’s Pillow Tap Dance Program, and this year, she was honored with the 2021 Jacob Pillow Dance Award.  

A tap dancer since the age of three, Dormeshia began studying the form under the instruction of Paul and Arlene Kennedy in California and went on to perform in Rome at the Tip Tap Festival by the age of eight. Shortly after, she made her debut on Broadway at age 12 in the musical revue “Black and Blue” with legends Jimmy Slyde, Bunny Briggs and Lon Chaney to name a few. She was also the only female tap dancer featured in the Tony Award-winning musical “Bring in da' Noise, Bring in da' Funk” on Broadway as well as the international tour.  

In addition to her appearances on and off Broadway, her film credits include “The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang,” “TAP” with Gregory Hines, Spike Lee's “Bamboozled” and “The Rodgers and Hart Story: Thou Swell, Thou Witty.” Dormeshia is also known for being tap coach to Michael Jackson over the course of 11 years, and her choreography was used in his music video for “Rock Your World.” In addition to her 2012 Bessie Award, Dormeshia has been the recipient of two Princess Grace Awards including the prestigious Statue Award in 2017, the Hoofer Award from the American Tap Dance Foundation and an Astaire Award for best female performer in Broadway’s "After Midnight." Dormeshia is also one of five tap dancers representing tap dance in the Forever collection of U.S. Postage Stamps.

Meet the Other 2021 Doris Duke Artists