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Dancing on the canvas – Broadway star turns tap-dancing skills into works of art

Daniel J. Watts had never painted until the pandemic shut down Broadway theaters in 2020. With the Turner musical on pause for a year and a half, he was looking for a new way to be creative.

Feb 8, 2023, 2:33 PM

Updated 529 days ago

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Dancing on the canvas – Broadway star turns tap-dancing skills into works of art
A Broadway performer is utilizing his tap-dancing skills in a way that he never imagined he would.
Daniel J. Watts creates paintings by dancing on the canvas – his sneaker-clad feet acting as brushes as he improvises abstract works of art.
Watts, who received a 2020 Tony Award nomination for originating the role of Ike Turner in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” says painting has become a unique creative outlet.
“Sometimes art, or my art, is a fight. Or I'm working through something…but I can play more here. It's all dance,” he says.
Watts had never painted until the pandemic shut down Broadway theaters in 2020. With the Turner musical on pause for a year and a half, he was looking for a new way to be creative.
Watts has appeared in numerous Broadway productions including "Hamilton," "The Color Purple," “Memphis” and "In The Heights." But he says painting provides him with a more intimate artistic expression than being on stage.
"I'm allowing myself to be free in space and time…That's how I win the day," says Watts. "I won today if I created something. That means I was free today."
In January, Watts exhibited his paintings at Caelum Gallery in New York City, the first gallery showing of his artwork.
Daniel J. Watts creates paintings by dancing on the canvas – his sneaker-clad feet acting as brushes as he improvises abstract works of art.  (Photo courtesy of Daniel J. Watts)


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