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Tap dance is a type of dance characterised by using the sounds of tap shoes striking the floor as a form of percussion. The sound is made by shoes that have a metal "tap" on the heel and toe. There are several major variations on tap dance including: rhythm tap (jazz) tap, classical tap, Broadway tap, and post-modern tap. Broadway tap often focuses on formations, choreography and generally less complex rhythms; it is widely performed in musical theatre. Rhythm tap focuses on musicality, and practitioners consider themselves to be a part of the jazz tradition and as such, Improvisation is essential to their work. Many of the most influential rhythm tap dancers were members of the Hoofers Club or Original Copacetics. Classical tap has a similarly long tradition which marries European "classical" music with American foot drumming with a wide variation in full-body expression. Post-modern or contemporary tap has emerged over the last three decades to incorporate abstract expression, thematic narrative and technology.
There are different brands of shoes which sometimes differ in the way they sound. Soft-shoe is a rhythm form of tap dancing that does not require special shoes, and though rhythm is generated by tapping of the feet, it also uses sliding of the feet (even sometimes using scattered sand on the stage to enhance the sound of sliding feet) more often than modern rhythm tap. It produced what is currently considered to be modern tap, but has since declined in popularity.
Tap dance has its roots in the fusion of several ethnic percussive dances, including from various African countries, including a particular dance called Gioube Juba Dance, English clog dancing and Irish jigs; the relative contribution of different traditions is a point of disagreement among historians and dance scholars.Tap dance is believed by some to have begun in the mid-1800s during the rise of minstrel shows. Famous as Master Juba, William Henry Lane became one of the few black performers to join an otherwise white minstrel troupe, and is widely considered to be one of the most famous forebears of tap dance.
As the minstrel shows began to decline in popularity, tap dance became increasingly popular Vaudeville stage. Due to the two-colored rule, which forbade black people from performing solo, the majority of Vaudeville tap acts were duets.This gave rise to the famous pair "Buck and Bubbles", which consisted of John William "Bubbles" Sublett tap dancing and Ford "Buck" Washington on piano. The duo perfected the "class act", a routine in which the performers wore impeccable tuxedos, which has since become a common theme in tap dance. The move is seen by some as a rebuttal to the older minstrel show idea of the tap dancer as a "grinning-and-dancing clown." John "Bubbles" Sublett is also known amongst hoofers as the "Father of Rhythm Tap" which incorporates more percussive heel drops and lower-body movements.
Another notable figure to emerge during this period is Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who was a protégé of Alice Whitman of the Whitman Sisters around 1904 (then 'Willie Robinson').Well-versed in both Buck and Wing dancing and Irish step dancing, Bill Robinson joined the vaudeville circuit in 1902, in a duo with George W. Cooper. The act quickly became famous, headlining events across the country, and touring England as well. In 1908, however, the two had an altercation and the partnership was ended. Gambling on his popularity, Robinson decided to form a solo act, which was extremely rare for a black man at that time. Despite this, he had tremendous success and soon became a world-famous celebrity. He went on to have a leading role in many films, notably in movies starring Shirley Temple.
Shortly thereafter, the Nicholas Brothers came on the scene. Consisting of real-life brothers Fayard and Harold, this team wowed audiences with their acrobatic feats incorporated into their classy style of dancing. They never looked less than suave and were always in total control of their dancing, even in childhood numbers such as Stormy Weather .A notable scene in the movie Stormy Weather features the pair dancing up a staircase and then descending the staircase in a series of leapfrogs over each other into a full split from which they rise without using their hands.
During the 1930s tap dance mixed with Lindy hop. "Flying swing-outs" and "flying circles" are Lindy hop moves with tap footwork. In the mid- to late 1950s, the style of entertainment changed. Jazz music and tap dance declined, while rock and roll and the new jazz dance emerged. What is now called jazz dance evolved from tap dance, so both styles have many moves in common. Jazz has since evolved separately from tap dance to become a new form in its own right. Well-known dancers during the 1960s and 1970s included Arthur Duncan and Tommy Tune.
No Maps on My Taps , the Emmy award-winning PBS documentary of 1979, helped begin the recent revival of tap dance. The outstanding success of the animated film, Happy Feet , has further reinforced the popular appeal.National Tap Dance Day in the United States, now celebrated May 25, was signed into law by President George Bush on November 7, 1989. (May 25 was chosen because it is the birthday of famous tapper Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.) Prominent modern tap dancers have included Sarah Reich, Brenda Bufalino, Melinda Sullivan, The Clark Brothers, Savion Glover, Gregory and Maurice Hines, LaVaughn Robinson, Jason Samuels Smith, Roxanne Butterfly, Chloe Arnold, Michelle Dorrance, Dulé Hill and Dianne "Lady Di" Walker. Indie-pop band Tilly and the Wall also features a tap dancer, Jamie Pressnall, tapping as percussion.
Tap dancers make frequent use of syncopation. Choreography typically starts on the eighth or first beatcount. Another aspect of tap dancing is improvisation. Tap dancing can either be done with music following the beats provided, or without musical accompaniment; the latter is known as " a cappella tap dancing".
Hoofers are tap dancers who dance primarily "closer to the floor", using mostly footwork and not showing very much arm or body movement. [ citation needed ] Savion Glover helped bring tap dance into mainstream media by choreographing Happy Feet , a film about a tap dancing penguin. Another well-known tap film is 1989's Tap , starring Gregory Hines and many old-time hoofers.Steve Condos developed an innovative rhythmic tap style that influenced the work of later tap dancers such as Gregory Hines and Savion Glover. Condos passed his knowledge on to his protege Marshall L. Davis Jr. The majority of early hoofers, such as Sammy Davis Jr., Glover, Hines, and LaVaughn Robinson were African American men.
Early tappers like Fred Astaire provided a more ballroom look to tap dancing, while Gene Kelly introduced ballet elements and style into tap. This style of tap led to what is today known as Broadway style, which is popular in American culture. It often involves high heeled tap shoes and show music, and is usually the type of tap first taught to beginners. Examples of this style are found in Broadway musicals such as Anything Goes and 42nd Street .
Common tap steps include the shuffle, shuffle ball change, double shuffle, leap shuffle, hop shuffle, flap, flap ball change, running flaps, flap heel, cramproll, buffalo, Maxi Ford, Maxi Ford with a pullback, pullbacks, wings, Cincinnati, the shim sham shimmy (also called the Lindy), Irish, waltz clog, the paddle roll, the paradiddle, stomp, brushes, scuffs, spanks, riffs, and single and double toe punches, hot steps, heel clicks, time steps, over-the-tops, military time step, New Yorkers, Shiggy Bops, drawbacks, and chugs. In advanced tap dancing, basic steps are often combined together to create new steps. Many steps also have single, double, and triple versions, including pullbacks, timesteps, and drawbacks. In tap, various types of turns can be done, including step heel turns, Maxi Ford turns, cramproll turns, and drag turns. Timesteps are widely used in tap and can vary in different areas. These consist of a rhythm that is changed to make new timesteps by adding or removing steps.
Tap dancing can also be done using an a cappella method, in which no musical accompaniment is provided and dancers creating their own "music" through the sounds of their taps.
In group tap dances, the steps are typically kept simple and easy to control. The group of dancers must work together to create the sound, keeping their steps at the correct speed to match each other.
In the earliest years of tap dancing, tap shoes often had wooden soles, [ citation needed ] There are a variety of styles of shoe: the Oxford is very common in jazz dance and the Mary Jane is common for younger girls in tap classes.but most tap shoes since have had leather soles. Today, it is common for manufacturers of tap shoes to also produce and fix taps.
Tap shoe makers include Bloch, Sansha and Capezio.
Metallic taps were added to tap shoes in 1910.Before that tap shoes used wood to produce a distinct tapping sound. Castanets were commonly used for larger shows with full orchestration. Depending on manufacturer and model, tap characteristics can vary considerably. For example, some taps have relatively low weight and small footprint, whereas others may be thicker and fill out the edge of the shoe more, making them heavier as a result. A tap's "tone" is influenced by its weight as well as its surface shape, which may be concave or convex. The tonal quality of a tap can also be influenced by the material it is made from, and the presence of a soundboard (though there is some debate whether this affects the sound).
Taps are mounted to the sole of the shoe with screws, and sometimes adhesive as well. The screws are driven into a soundboard – a thin fiberboard integrated into the sole that can be firmly "gripped" by the screws – to reliably attach the tap to the shoe. When no adhesive is used, the screws can be loosened or tightened to produce different sounds, whereas tonal quality is fixed when adhesive is used.
Irish dance is a group of traditional dance forms originating from Ireland, encompassing dancing both solo and in groups, and dancing for social, competitive, and performance purposes. Irish dance in its current form developed from various influences such as Native Irish dance French quadrilles and English country dancing. Dance was taught by "travelling dance masters" across Ireland in the 17th-18th century, and separate dance forms developed according to regional practice and differing purposes. Irish dance became a significant part of Irish culture, particularly for Irish nationalist movements. From the early 20th century, a number of organisations promoted and codified the various forms of dance, creating competitive structures and standardised styles.
Gregory Oliver Hines was an American dancer, actor, choreographer and singer. He is considered one of the most celebrated tap dancers of all time.
Savion Glover is an American tap dancer, actor, and choreographer.
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was an American tap dancer, actor, and singer, the best known and most highly paid black American entertainer in America during the first half of the twentieth century. His long career mirrored changes in American entertainment tastes and technology. His began in the age of minstrel shows and moved to Vaudeville, Broadway theatre, the recording industry, Hollywood films, radio and television. According to dance critic Marshall Stearns, "Robinson's contribution to tap dance is exact and specific. He brought it up on its toes, dancing upright and swinging", giving tap dancing a "hitherto-unknown lightness and presence." His signature routine was the Stair Dance, in which he would tap up and down a set of stairs in a rhythmically complex sequence of steps, a routine that he unsuccessfully attempted to patent. He is also credited with having coined the word copasetic in popular culture via his repeated use of it in Vaudeville and radio appearances.
John William Sublett, known by his stage name John W. Bubbles, was an American vaudeville performer. He performed in the duo "Buck and Bubbles." He is also known as the father of "rhythm tap."
Clogging is a type of folk dance in which the dancer's footwear is used percussively by striking the heel, the toe, or both against a floor or each other to create audible rhythms, usually to the downbeat with the heel keeping the rhythm. The dance style has recently fused with others including African-American rhythms, and the Peruvian dance "zapateo", resulting in the birth of newer street dances, such as tap, locking, jump, hakken, stomping, Gangsta Walking, and the Candy Walk dance. The use of wooden-soled clogs is rarer in the more modern dances since clog shoes are not commonly worn in urban society, and other types of footwear have replaced them in their evolved dance forms. Clogging is often considered the first form of street dance because it evolved in urban environments during the industrial revolution.
James Titus Godbolt, known professionally as Jimmy Slyde and also as the "King of Slides", was an American tap dancer, especially famous for his innovative tap style mixed with jazz.
Howard "Sandman" Sims was an African-American tap dancer who began his career in vaudeville. He was skilled in a style of dancing that he performed in a wooden sandbox of his own construction, and acquired his nickname from the sand he sprinkled to alter and amplify the sound of his dance steps. "They called the board my Stradivarius," Sims said of his sandbox.
Tap dance makes frequent use of syncopation. Tap dance choreographies typically start on the eighth beat, or between the eighth and the first count.
Bojangles is a 2001 American made-for-television biographical drama film that chronicles the life of entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (1878–1949). This film boasts tap dance routines and a complicated, if not unique, interpretation of the main character by Gregory Hines, who also served as an executive producer. Bojangles was produced by Darrick Productions and MGM Television for the Showtime premium cable network.
The Hoofers Club was an African-American entertainment establishment and dancers' club hangout in Harlem, New York, in the early- to mid-twentieth century. The club was a legendary site of some of the best of jazz and tap performers, particularly in the 1920s and 1930s. It was located on Harlem's "Swing Street," the stretch of 133rd Street between Lenox and Seventh Avenues known for its music and dance venues.
LaVaughn Robinson was a US tap dancer, choreographer, and teacher.
Ernest "Brownie" Brown was an African American tap dancer and last surviving member of the Original Copasetics. He was the dance partner of Charles "Cookie" Cook, with whom he performed from the days of vaudeville into the 1960s.
Sanding is a type of dancing where the dance floor is covered in sand.
Eddie Brown, was a dancer born in 1918 in Omaha, Nebraska. The young dancer spent almost every day jamming on street corners with other kids from the neighborhood, learning new moves and practicing to develop his skill. The famous tap dancer, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson played a crucial role in Eddie Brown’s life as a student and a professional dancer. Brown listened to recordings of Robinson dancing and figured out how to dance like him based on the sounds.
Max Pollak is percussive dancer and World Music expert. He was born in Vienna, Austria and became known for his work in percussive dance, World Music, tap dance, and choreography. He created "RumbaTap", which merged American Rhythm Tap with Afro-Cuban music and dance. He is the only non-Cuban member of the Afro-Cuban Rumba and folklore ensemble Los Muñequitos de Matanzas.
The American Tap Dance Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose primary goal is the presentation and teaching of tap dance. Its original stated purpose was to provide an "international home for tap dance, perpetuate tap as a contemporary art form, preserve it through performance and an archival library, provide educational programming, and establish a formal school for tap dance."
Tony Carl Waag is a tap dancer, director and producer living in New York City. In 2008, he was dubbed "The Mayor of Tap City" by Theatremania. He is currently the Executive/Artistic Director of the American Tap Dance Foundation.
Tap City, the New York City Tap Festival, was launched in 2001 in New York City. Held annually for approximately one week each summer, the festival features tap dancing classes, choreography residencies, panels, screenings, and performances as well as awards ceremonies, concert performances, and Tap it Out, a free, public, outdoor event performed in Times Square by a chorus of dancers. The goal of the Festival is to establish a "higher level of understanding and examination of tap’s storied history and development.”
Kahnotation is a tap dance notation.
alice whitman bojangles.
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