Sintes Brothers bringing new life to tap dancing video


The Sintes Brothers, Daniel and Matthew, are performing NZ's first full length tap show at this year's Body Festival.

Many people don't realise they're walking around on a pair of musical instruments. 

But two brothers from North Canterbury are on a mission to change that. 

Daniel and Matthew Sintes have known the power within their feet from a young age.

They began tap dancing when they were five years old, and went on to tour internationally.

In October, the pair will perform their first full-length, self-choreographed show – a dream of theirs since they were teenagers. 

For Matt, dancing has been an ambivalent journey. When he reached his final year of high school, he'd become half-hearted about the discipline.

"There were maybe a good couple of years where I had no real commitment to it," he says.

"I remember one particular performance thinking, 'I'm over this'."

When his elder brother crossed the ditch to study at Sydney's esteemed Brent Street Performing Arts School, Matt's interest in tap dancing was reignited. 

"Dan would come back in the holidays and we'd go out in the garage and he'd teach me some stuff," Matt recalls.

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"I was like, 'Oh, this is actually cool'."

Matt himself went on to study at Brent Street, and, after graduating, the brothers joined Australian company Raw Dance.

During the next four years, they completed tours of Australia, Holland, and Singapore. They'd scheduled their final bows on a tour to New York in 2011.

The brothers needed a break, Matt says, in order to "find the love" again.

"It was something we'd done all our lives."

Upon returning to New Zealand, Dan acquired his realtor's licence and Matt pursued photography.

But it wasn't long before their feet began to itch again.

"I think maybe I wanted to create another identity for myself," Matt says with a sheepish grin.

"But yeah, it hasn't worked out too well."

Now, the brothers are back in their Rangiora garage, rehearsing for Tapstep , which debuts at this year's Body Festival on October 3.

The show, set to modern beats, breathes new life into a dying art.

"Back in the day, you had people like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly – they had their own identity," Matt says.

"We want tap dancing to have its own identity in the present, rather than just recycling things."

Matt, 27, attributes tap dancing's lack of evolution to its lack of street cred combined with its technical difficulty.

It takes a long time to learn the basics, Matt says, but in essence - "it's just the heels and toes, and building from that".

"if you go to a dance class, they'll teach you set steps that have probably existed forever," he says.

"We're really trying to push the fact that we have instruments on our feet."

Featuring as part of this year's Body Festival ( thebody, which runs from September 25 to October 11, The Sintes Brothers will perform Tapstep  at Middleton Grange Auditorium on October 3 at 7.30pm. Tickets $20 from Dash Tickets. 

 - Stuff

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