One of the best parts about living in the Entertainment Capital of the world is that no matter where you are in this city, you’re bound to be in the presence of an entertainer. For example, we recently spotted Marie Osmond casually passing through Whole Foods, Louie Anderson grabbing a bite for lunch, and it’s actually pretty easy to spot a Cirque du Soleil performer at the gym… just take a look at the way they stretch. The point is is that outside of their incredible talents that have landed them in the public eye, these talented individuals are everyday people just like us; we sat down with the incredible tap dancing twin brothers, Sean and John Scott, of “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace to prove that very fact. Read on to see just how these guys really are just like you and me… besides the fact that they can tap dance circles around all of us.
Vegas.com: Tell us a little about yourself: Where are you from? How long have you two been dancing?
Sean Scott: We’re from Los Angeles born and raised. My brother and I, at the age of four or five, we were always jumping around, we had all of this energy and we would run around the house just causing chaos and my mom wanted to burn that energy somewhere and one day when she was cleaning the house and she saw Sammy Davis Jr. on TV and she thought maybe she’d put us in tap dancing. So, she enrolled us in tap dancing and we’ve been sticking with it ever since.
VDC: How did you end up in Absinthe?
SS: We were actually in another show at first and that’s when we met the producers of “Absinthe” and they embraced us and we had a good chemistry with them and we definitely wanted to do a collaboration with them and I thought it was a good idea because ever since I’ve been working with Spiegleworld, I’ve been happy here.
VDC: If you we’re in a dance off against the Nicholas Brothers what song would you tap to? What move would be your secret weapon?
SS: I don’t know, maybe a Michael Jackson song. Wow. What move would be my secret weapon? That’s a hard question! I always felt inferior to the Nicholas brothers because I idolize them, you know? They’re the best. If they were around right now, me and my brother wouldn’t have a job. But my secret weapon would be…I can’t say splits because they are masters at it, you know? I guess I’d just kill it with my swag.
John Scott: That’s a good question. Yikes. I probably would do “Pursuit of Happiness.” I don’t think my secret weapon would do anything compared to the Nicholas brothers. I don’t think I would stand a chance, honestly. Not only were they really showy, they were rhythmic as well so they were really good at both of those so I don’t know how I would do. The Nicholas brothers are like everything to me so, I just think if they were dancing now, I wouldn’t be working as much.
VDC: What’s the most unusual spot you have tap danced in / at?
SS: Many we’ve had so many experiences. I remember I did a performance at a University and this most have been when I was like 21 or something like that and we left our tap shoes in the wrong car so by the time we got there, we didn’t have our tap shoes so we had Timberlands on and we had to tap dance in our Timberlands. It was crazy because we actually got an applause but yeah, it was really uncomfortable and it was super embarrassing.
VDC: Besides the Nicholas Brothers, who are your tap heroes?
SS: My tap heroes, I would say, I am a big fan of Michael Jackson so I like Michael Jackson. I guess I would say I like Fred Astaire and our tap teacher.
JS: Besides them? I would say Fred Astaire. Fred Astaire was really, really good.
VDC: Have you ever been in a random dance battle?
SS: Yeah, all of the time. If we are in an area where there are other dancers, they’ll usually know who we are and they will tap dance a little but it will be like a friendly battle and sometimes I’ll tap and sometimes I won’t. It depends how I’m feeling. But I’ve never turned down a challenge. We also do hip hop.
JS: Oh yeah, all of the time. Sometimes people ask me to tap dance in te middle of a club and [I say no]. I dance, I get my groove on but I’m not going to tap dance in the club. It’s not like “Fame” back in the ’80 when you do stuff like that, you don’t do the artistic stuff in the club. But yeah, I can do a little popping and dancing so yeah, I cut a little rug, I surprise people.
VDC: How would you describe your act in Absinthe?
SS: Our act in the show, I think it’s a raw talent and at the same time, I think it’s a raw energy as well and I would say that we are bringing back the street nature in the show. I feel like we bring a certain type of realness to the show.
JS: A lot of times, people don’t know what I do when I invite them [to the show]. So, I just won’t tell them and I just say it’s a surprise and then they are like, “What the hell? I didn’t know you tap danced.” You know? Or they immediately think I’m like a Chippendales dancer and I tell them that I’m not buff enough for that so I tell them I’m not doing anything like that. So most of the time, I don’t really explain myself anymore because growing up, I used to hate telling people that I danced because they used to think I danced like the old school tap dances like 22nd street and like Broadway style so until this year, now it’s more relevant, in a cooler way.
VDC: Have you ever had a mishap that’s happened while you’ve been performing?
SS: I’ve never kicked over someone’s drink, thank goodness but yeah, I’ve slipped several times on the stage. It could be anything you know? So, a lot of times I slip and I get right back up. The only thing I’m afraid of and aware and conscious of is trying to not fall off of the stage.
JS: Oh yeah, a lot of times. I’ve never fell off stage so, good thing on that part. I’ve slipped before onstage or, I’ve forgotten my tap shoes and have had to wear my brother’s extra tap shoes. Oh, there was a time I danced before and I had to dance in dress shoes. I had to tap hard enough to make people actually believe that they were tap shoes, they were like hard, leather bottoms.
VDC: What is something about tap dancing that most people don’t know?
SS: It’s like tap dancing is really tedious and it’s like running in place really, really fast for like five minutes straight when we are on stage and I think they don’t get that part. And it’s a skill that takes time to, I wouldn’t say perfect, but to at least get good at it. You know? So, some people see us on stage and are like wow, that looks like I can learn it, or it looks easy… until they try it. My brother and I try to make it look easy so people can get it, so people can grasp it more.
VDC: What is something about tap dancing that most people don’t know?
JS: It’s seriously like, I kind of compare it to insanity. You are the instrument and you can’t just dance to a rhythm, you can’t just dance to a steady rhythm. You’re the rhythm so you have to switch it up. You have to go slower, you have to go faster, you have to go faster, you have to go slower you can go off any beat but you can’t forget that you are the instrument so it’s not just a dance, you know what I mean? That’s why I like tap dancing because it’s like you’re part of a jazz band off to the side because you are a percussionist, you know? But, to answer your question, it’s a full-body movement and so it is very tiring, you know? Very tiring and you can’t fake it especially being in the theater in the round and being that close to everybody, they could tell if you were faking it, you know? It won’t come across as cool or nice if you’re faking it.
VDC: How do you stay in shape to dance the way you do?
JS: I train a lot. I do boxing. I’ve been [dancing] for over 26 years so I feel like it’s kind of instilled in me now.
VDC: Is there a deeper meaning to tap dance for you than what the audience sees?
JS: Yes, I feel like there is a story behind my brother and I because our tap teacher (by the way, I think he is one of my tap heroes) was a father figure to us because our father wasn’t in our lives. And we have been with him since we were six years old and he passed away and I feel like my brother and I are carrying on his legacy so I feel like tap is a performance art form that’s forgotten and it paves the way for a lot of entertainers to live up their dreams and inspire children that they don’t just have to be a basketball player or a rapper, that they can be much more than that, you know?
VDC: What do you like to do in town when you’re not performing?
SS: Truthfully, I like to play video games. I like playing video games, I like hanging out with my family and friends, because my brother and I, it’s a blessing that we work a lot but any time that I do have off, I like to spend time with my son and teach my son how to tap dance.
JS: I go out every now and then. If I feel like I haven’t been in awhile or want to be back in the scene, I’ll definitely go out. I love to go out. Drai’s is my favorite. I used to go to XS a lot but it’s so excessive, so much, you know? A lot of people are there. But yeah, Drai’s is definitely my favorite.
VDC: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
JS: I just want to say that it’s definitely a blessing to be on the Las Vegas Strip, I feel like this is the new Broadway, I feel like it’s better than Broadway although Broadway has nostalgia. But, Vegas has survived the modern depression when we were going through it but when Broadway when Broadway was going through it, a lot of the shows has to close down but Vegas still prevailed. So, I think Vegas is cool, I think Vegas is where it’s at right now. Especially Absinthe. Absinthe can stand the test of time and it can do well anywhere.