Scarpiniti taps into the spotlight

When Anthony Scarpiniti, junior, tapped onto the stage, ears were filled with the rhythmic “clickety-clack” of tap shoes. The audience could not help but to nod along with Scarpiniti’s charismatic tap rendition of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, as he melded tap technique with moonwalks and hat grabs. His life-long love of dance shown through as his seemingly smooth and effortless performance culminated in thunderous applause.

Scarpiniti recalls expressing interest in dance at a young age.

“When I was very little, I saw ‘Happy Tapping with Elmo’, and I may or may not have wanted to be just like him,” Scarpiniti said.

Ever since then, Scarpiniti pursued dance, taking multiple classes and attending various competitions and camps. He now practices regularly twice a week with a full day of rehearsal on Saturdays and a half-day on Sundays. While some may question how he finds time for other activities or schoolwork, Scarpiniti believes his busy schedule helps him stay on task.

“On days when dance is randomly cancelled, I’m very bad about getting anything done,” Scarpiniti said. “I feel like I have all the time in the world.”

Aside from practice, Scarpiniti also competes. Some of his greatest personal achievements include being awarded with four scholarships to dance camps and winning an improvisation competition. In a sport typically dominated by women, Scarpiniti sees his gender as an advantage when it comes to competition.

“I definitely standout in dances, always,” Scarpiniti said. “I feel like there’s always bias at competitions in a positive way, for me. I think that judges score me easier. I think most guys disagree with that, but I think that it happens.”

Though he has been dancing throughout his entire high school career thus far, Scarpiniti had not entered the variety show until this year. The solo he performed at the variety show is special to Scarpiniti because it is choreographed by one of his idols, Anthony Morigerato, who is known for choreographing multiple tap routines for contestants on the popular reality TV show “So You Think You Can Dance?”

“I just love my solo, so I figured I should show it off,” Scarpiniti said.

His other inspirations include Mike Minery, whose camps Scarpiniti attends every summer, Michael Jackson, and Justin Timberlake.

“Michael Jackson was actually a tap dancer,” Scarpiniti said. “Justin Timberlake is where I get my alter-ego.”

However, Scarpiniti’s dance range is not limited to tap. He has also taken classes in jazz, ballet, and hip-hop, but tap will always be his favorite.

“I really just prefer tap,” Scarpiniti said. “I’m best at it; I can hear myself.”