Showing posts with label dance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dance. Show all posts

Friday, May 29, 2015


This is not wedding related but from my work as a choreographer and dancer.

On April 8th 2015 my latest dance theater production "NOLA" premiered at Kampnagel, Hamburg. It was a pleasure to work with such wonderful artists like Meschiya Lake, Travis Knights, Daniel Larsson, Sandra Kluge and my wife Ellen Marek.
We had an amazing band featuring Russell Welch, Kurt Holzkämper, Markus Voigt, Melf Uwe Holmer and Stefan Dahm.
The show was a huge success with over 2000 tickets sold. Here is a little video clip from the first choreography "Prologue"

NOLA "Prologue" from Thomas Marek on Vimeo.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tap Dance: New Promo Video Thomas Marek Band

For my new band project we finally got our new promo video edited. This is an awesome band and I am happy sharing the stage with Markus Voigt (trombone), Lorenz Boesche (piano), Oliver Karstens (bass) and Stefan Dahm (drums). 
The video was filmed live at Bluetap Studio in Berlin. 


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Swing Dancing!

Two days ago I was hired by my swing dancing friends and colleagues from swingwerkstatt in Hamburg to photograph their new promo shots. 
It was quite fun and for the first time I got to use the X Pro 1 with studio lights. I used two Profoto 600 Compacts with a 5" Octa Softbox. 
Unfortunately while setting up everything I ran into trouble because my X 1 Pro would not fire the strobes. Neither cable via the sync outlet nor radio triggered with my Pulsar radio triggers would work. It took me a while to realize that my camera was not properly working so luckily I had a second body which just worked fine. 
Once everything was up and running it was quite fun to shoot with the X Pro 1 in a studio setup and the results turned out quite nice. 

Please visit my friends at

So here are a few Lindy Hop pics....

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Teaching at the University of Washington

Soon after I came to Seattle in November I met visual artist Susie Lee ( and she invited me to collaborate in teaching a photography class at the University of Washington. 
I was very excited about the project especially because the idea was to combine and research elements of tap dance and photography that both art forms have in common. We discussed different physical and musical exercises that could work together and lead the students to new ideas in their art making and we developed different ideas around time, timing, movement and space. 
Last Monday classes started and it was quite fun. We started off using exercises that I often use with my dance company to create an awareness of space, rhythm and time and that helps your mind connecting with each other and your environment. It was was great doing this not with dancers but photography students. We later combined these exercises with image making.
The class will continue for a few weeks and it's gonna be very interesting to see where this will lead.

Here are a few photos from our experiment.... 


Thursday, August 30, 2012

6 years ago Tap Dance project: about_tap vol no 2

While going through a bunch of old photos I came across a tap dance production I did in 2006. It was called "about_tap vol no 2" and it premiered very successfully at Kampnagel, Hamburg.
It was basically a staged, live portrait of six tap dancers of different generations and cultural backgrounds. The show mixed photography, spoken interviews, choreography and jazz.

The title was in reference to a film called "About tap" by George T. Nierenberg, which was a documentary on 3 tap dancers (Chuck Green, Jimmy Slyde and Steve Condos). As a youngster I watched that film a million times and it was a huge inspiration for my dancing.
With my show I wanted to create a staged and more abstract version of a tap dance portrait and their dancers. The idea was to photograph and interview each dancer in their hometown and ask them about their opinions and feelings about the dance form but also their career and life. It was a very personal and biographical show and I was lucky to work with some of the best dancers around.

In Paris I interviewed Sarah and Leela Petronio, Brenda Bufalino in New York and New Paltz, NY. Josh Hilberman in Boston, Pia Neises in Cologne and a self portrait of me in Hamburg.

In pre production interviews, footage and music where put together and were a starting point for the choreography. Later we all met in Hamburg for 4 or 5 weeks to put together the show and perform it.
It was a unique experience. Every dancer generously gave me personal footage and background information on their dance lifes that got mixed together into a full evening show.
It was very successful back then and I often feel that it should be revisited sometime. Very good memories.

Here is a video clip of the show and a couple of photos that were taken during that creative process.
Enjoy, Thomas

Brenda Bufalino chair bw sharp
Brenda Bufalino in New Paltz,NY
Sarah Petronio near Paris
Leela Metro60
Leela Petronio, Paris
Josh Hilberman, Boston
Pia Portrait Rheinterrasse17 pp sharp
Pia Neises, Cologne

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Shim Sham Shimmy

A student of mine asked me about the roots of the Shim Sham the other day and she had a bit of confusing knowledge about it. So here is what I know about the Shim Sham Shimmy...
The Shim Sham is a tap dance routine that was created in the late 1920s by Willie Bryant and Leonard Reed, who first named it Goofus. The dance steps became quite popular and eventually made it to a show in the New York night club "Shim Sham Club" where the Shim Sham routine further developed. 
Just like most standard swing tunes in the aaba structure The Shim Sham has four parts each 8 bars long (6 bars followed by a 2 bar break). So the whole dance reflects a 32 bar tune in the same structure. 
The 4 parts are : 1. Shim Sham, 2. The cross over , 3. Tack Annie, 4. Half break. 
Since the dance has always been very popular among tap and also swing dancers, there are many many different variations of this dance. It is considered the "national anthem" of tap dance.

Here is a youtube clip of my students perforiming the Shim Sham.....


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Forget 5,6,7 and 8 : How to count properly and communicate basic musicality.

I posted this blog entry a while ago on my old tap dance blog. I now decided to merge all my artistic work into one blog, so there will be a couple of reposts …. 

In today´s dancing world there are still many (tap) dancers counting 5,6,7,8 when refering to a 4/4 measure. This is quite confusing to almost everybody who is understanding the concept of a 4/4 feel, which only consists of four beats : 1, 2 ,3 & 4. So were do the 5,6,7 & 8 come from? It´s a way to count a 2 bar phrase as one logical unit : 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. So the 5,6,7,8 simply refer to the second bar of that phrase. But this is very unlogical because the measure only consists of 4 beats : 1,2,3 and 4. 

This is why I think you should drop counting 5,6,7 and 8 in a 4/4 measure: 

1. There simply isn´t 5,6,7,8 in a 4/4 feel. A 4/4 measure only consists of 4 beats. Namely: one, two, three and four.  

2. It is totally f***ing 80s and sounds a little stupid anyways. Who started it? Fame? :)

3.Counting to 8 ignores a main fact of swing music, which is a strong feel for the 4 beats. Ask Basie he knows : "Four beats and no messin´", Count Basie. 

4. Since by pure logic 1 is not 5 and 2 is not 6 and 3 is not 7 and 4 is not 8, this whole concept is pretty confusing. 

5. Transfering this way of "wrong" counting to other measures like 3/4 would mean trouble, because then you would end up counting a 6/4 or 6/8 which is clearly different than a 3/4 feel.

6. You probably count a 3/4 or 5/4 measure correct but not a simple 4/4? WTF??? 

7. Once you get used to correct counting you always know were you are in the music and you are able to communicate it with other musicians who also "speak the language". This is a universal musical language, that makes sense. Why do you want as dancer stand out, and simply do it wrong? 

8.You will never ever have to translate your steps and choreography when trying to work with musicians.... (How many eights again????) Stop being confused when trying to arrange your dancing to music. 

9. It´s a first step towards thinking in musical terms as a dancer and understanding the music. And since most (tap) dancers claim to be musicians that should be a given. 

10. Become a happy (tap) dancer.