EARLY MANHATTAN TAP
In 1985, Heather co-founded her first ensemble, Manhattan Tap, which, by the late 80’s, was called "one of New York's leading tap ensembles" (NY Times). One of the busiest music/dance companies in the early 90’s, Manhattan Tap remained a major force in the international dance and music communities for two decades. The company was a collection of individual dancers, all strong soloists, and formidable jazz and world musicians, who fused into an electrifying ensemble that uniquely blended tap dance, music, choreography and improvisation. Heather’s style of choreography, with her intimate connection to the music, was dubbed "visual music". (Dance Magazine)
Manhattan Tap was a training ground for the young dancers of the era and it was where they honed their craft. The company provided the foundation for generations of dancers like Max Pollack, Tamango, Roxanne Butterfly, Jeannie Hill, Olivia Rosencrantz and Michael Minery, many who are leading the field today. For almost all of the company apprentices and dancers, Manhattan Tap was their first exposure to working with live music and many of these dancers have gone on to define their careers taking their inspiration from Heather’s approach.
"[Heather Cornell, in Excursion Fare] bridges the gap between old and new style tap dancing, with dancing as intimately involved with the music as any instrumentalist."
-Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times, New York
"Manhattan Tap concentrates on what counts - the sound of tap dancing... excitingly they are always in dialogue with their own musicians... "