American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2010 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.  Page 37

Drika Overton


Tap dancer, vaudeville and ballet producer and dance school founder, Drika came to dance late in her teens and has made up time ever since. She moved from ballet to tap through her classes at Oberlin Dance Collective and meeting Kim Okada, Eddie Brown and Brenda Bufalino.

There wasn’t much work so Drika and four other young female tappers formed Take Five and played the West Coast for several seasons before Drika moved to the3 East Coast and danced in nightclubs, at fairs and festivals. Settling in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, she met her husband, Bob Pierce, and began teaching, performing and producing performances that includes an annual jazz dance Nutcracker called Clara’s Dreamland the Portsmouth Percussive Dance Festival—often staged at Portsmouth’s restored Music Hall. In 2003, Drika’s Music hall Follies featured a week of classes, films, symposia and a vaudeville show headlined by Fayard Nicholas (of the Nicholas Brothers) and Bill Irwin.

Dean Diggins, noted dancer, pianist and painter described Drika as “intensely musical, long-legged, long-armed, long blond hair flying” whose “dance style is fluid, intensely musical and reflects a passion for jazz tap rhythms and counterpoint.”