HOMETOWN: Vienna, Austria


Max Pollak is an influential instructor, choreographer and performer in the tap dance scene. He is recognized for his highly individual style as the first person to merge authentic Afro-Cuban music and dance with tap and body music to create “RumbaTap”. Originator of Cuba’s first tap festival, he has been teaching and performing there since 1998. He shared the stage with tap legends Jimmy Slyde, Gregory Hines and Buster Brown.


  • Born September 1, 1970 in Vienna, Austria
  • Started tap dance lessons at age 11. and learned drums and percussion at age 14.
  • He was first exposed to the African American style of rhythm tap when he was 17 years old.
  • Pollak studied theater in Vienna, Austria from 1988-1990 and moved to New York in 1991 at the invitation of Heather Cornell, artistic director of the Bebop tap quartet Manhattan Tap.
  • In the United States, he studied Jazz at The New School, graduating in May 1995.
  • Pollak began his professional career performing in musical theater in Europe appearing in productions such as Deutschland Lied and Fruediana.  
  • In the USA he appeared various productions including The Nutcracker In The Land Of Nuts (1991); summer stock—at Surflight Theater, NJ (1992), Brigadoon, Chicago, Meet Me In St. Louis and A Chorus Line.
  • Danced with a variety of Tap-based dance troupes including “Manhattan Tap”, “Feet 2 the Beat”, “Beat the Donkey”, and “Urban Tap”.
  • Appeared regularly at New York City jazz club La Cave with Jimmy Slyde, Buster Brown, Chuck Green and Lon Chaney.
  • The ideas behind RumbaTap began when Max took a class with Afro-Latin jazz icon Bobby Sanabria at the New School.
  • “RumbaTap” the music/dance ensemble created and named after Pollak’s unique body percussion/tap concept, premiered in 1999. It was officially launched at a show in 1999 at El Taller Latino Americano, featuring Bobby Sanabria, Barbaro Ramos, and Paul Carlon’s Latin jazz quartet Grupo Los Santos.  Since 2010 RumbaTap also performs as an a cappella vocal ensemble.
  • RumbaTap has since toured throughout Europe, Japan, Cuba, Brazil, Turkey, Canada and the United States, in 2008 performing to a capacity crowd at New York City’s Central Park Summer Stage.[11]

Primary source: Wikipedia.





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