Matthew Shields is a Canadian born dance artist and is truly, one-of-a-kind. Shields is not only recognized as a tap dancer and entertainer, but also a highly-sought-after collaborator, full-time teacher and choreographer. Shields has worked as a writer, director, actor and as a visual artist throughout his career.
In 2014, Shields created Hyperfeet Productions and HYPE: The Hyperfeet Youth Performance Ensemble in Austin, Texas. HYPE is a youth ensemble focusing on tap dance, jazz music, and performance. The goal of HYPE is to create a movement of young men and women that are able to express themselves through rhythm and dance while maintaining a higher education in the field of tap dance and social jazz dance.
Shields made a name for himself in the dance world while working in Austin, Texas for the internationally acclaimed Tapestry Dance Company. Shields danced with Tapestry for nearly a decade. Beginning as a Principal Dancer with the company in 2004, then graduating to Dance Captain in 2011, as TDC toured china. He filled the role as Assistant Artistic Director in 2012/13, and finished his stay with the company as Resident Choreographer in 2014. Tapestry’s 25th anniversary season was warmly celebrated, and began with the breath taking premiere; Anticipation of Next. Mr. Shields was entrusted with choreographing and directing this original production for Tapestry, which was a milestone in Shields’ career.
Hyperfeet Productions is a company dedicated to the presentation of tap dance and social jazz on the concert stage, as well as arts education and constant collaboration with live musicians.
Matt recently returned from a six-month tour of Canada and Europe. Upon his return, he joined Zach Theatre for the third time, appearing in the final three performances of the American classic, Singing in the Rain; directed by Abe Reybold. Shields has most recently been recognized for his work with Zach Theatre in the production of Mary Poppins; directed by Dave Steakley. As the lead
tap dancer and a featured member of the ensemble that won a B. Iden Payne award for ‘outstanding work as an ensemble’. Mr. Shields also appeared at Zach Theatre in the Duke Ellington musical review; Sophisticated Ladies starring Jennifer Holiday. Shields and partner Tony Merriwether received the Austin Critics Table Award for ‘outstanding duet performance’ and were also nominated for a B. Iden Payne musical theatre award for their role in this production.
In 2015, Shields directed IN GOOD TIME, for RIFF: Rhythm In Fusion Festival. Shields were also master of ceremonies and a featured tap artist at RIFF. Shields served as Artist in Residence with the Rhythmic Souls Youth Residency Program while both choreographing and performing for the Rhythmic Souls Professional Tap Company, all based in Dallas, Texas.
In 2013, Mr. Shields directed and co-hosted Rhythm Lives for the Montreal Tap Festival which featuring the legendary Dr. Arthur Duncan. In the same year Shields performed as a special guest with the Toronto Rhythm Initiative, where he was featured as a soloist, his choreographies were showcased, and once again he was privileged to dance alongside Dr. Arthur Duncan.
Mr. Shields was an original cast member of Tapestry’s, The Souls of Our Feet: A Tribute to American Tap Dance. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts: American Masterpieces Restoration grant program, SOULS toured all over the United States, Canada and China. Tap dance legends such as; Dr. Harold “Stumpy” Cromer, Dr. Jeni LeGon, Fred Astaire, The Condos Brothers, Dr. Artur Duncan, Dianne Walker, Brenda Bufalino, Sarah Petronio, Acia Gray, Heather Cornell and many other legendary artists had works represented in this production. It is from the experience gained in this show, where Mr. Shields says, “I truly ‘learned’ to tap dance”.
Mr. Shields was commissioned by the Vancouver Tap Society to create and direct an original full-length tap dance production. The commission was beautifully transformed by Shields and friends into an epic-tap-dance-musical-comedy erroneously titled; A Chronological Life Story of a Few Tap Dancers. It was special production that featured Canadian artists Travis Knights, Danny Nielsen and American tap virtuoso Derick K. Grant.
Mr. Shields has performed at the Toronto and Edmonton International Jazz Festivals, The Edmonton Fringe Festival and Feats Festival of Dance. He has been a guest artist in Switzerland for the International Dance Organization's Swiss Tap Championships. Shields has also appeared several times at L’International Festival Le Danse Encore, (Quebec, Canada), TDC’s Soul to Sole Tap Festival (Austin, TX), Tap Ahead Festival (Dusseldorf, GR), The Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival, The Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Space City Tap Fest (Houston,TX) and Hoofin' Ground (Charlotte, NC).
Mr. Shields frequently volunteers his time to perform at numerous non-profit and charity events; including support for the Dell Children’s Hospital, Project Transitions and Aids Services of Austin.
Mr. Shields is a lover of jazz and all things jazz. Jazz is cool, jazz is everywhere. Jazz is of the people.