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The History of Tap Dancing
Transcript of The History of Tap Dancing
What is Tap Dance?
Tap Dance is a type of dance that has special shoes with metal taps on them. These taps make a sound that go with the dancer's music. Tap usually goes with upbeat music and is very fast and lively.
Where did Tap Come From?
Tap has roots that go back to the mid-1600s. Tap dancing evolved from many types of dance.
These are 3 of the main types of dance from which tap originated.
So How Did that,
Tap Dance (My class)
Master Juba- Around 1825-1852
William Henry Lane, or "Master Juba", is believed to be the founder of tap dancing. He performed a very fast dance with a one of a kind mix of an Irish Jig and an African Dance. Though he didn't have tap shoes, his performances consisted of many tap-like steps. He danced at Minstrel Shows, which were shows with white dancers mimicking African-American slaves and their dances. It consisted of tap like steps. Master Juba was the first African-American dancer to dance at a Minstrel Show. He dressed as a white man dressed as an African-American. After these shows he started his career competing through dance. All tap dancers consider Master Juba to be the father of tap dance.
Thomas Rice 1808-1860
Turn into this?
Thomas Rice was an American man who danced in Minstrel Shows using "Blackface" makeup to look like an African American. He was a dancer, actor, and entertainer. Thomas Rice was the first tap dancer with tap shoes. He added metal plates to his shoes, and tap spread wildly.
Minstrel Shows-Around 1840-1870
Minstrel Shows were shows that mimicked African American slaves, through dancing and singing. White men would blacken their faces with "Blackface", a type of makeup that disguised them. These shows evolved from many things including circuses, traveling theatre, and many types of dance.
These are homemade tap shoes, made from everyday shoes. All that was added were quarters.
There have been many famous tap dancers through history. Ever heard of Shirley Temple? She was a famous child tapper who starred in many movies. Among the greats are, Fred Astaire, Doris Day, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and many more.
Tap in the Early 1900s
Tap first started to be known as tap in the first few years of the 20th century. There were two types of tap. Soft-shoe was the shoe Master Juba and other Minstrel Show dancers used. The other shoe was a wooden "Buck and Wing" shoe, which produced a sound more like clogging. By the 1920s and 30s all soft shoes had taps. Tap started to increase greatly in popularity into the 1920s. It hit it's golden age in the 20s and 30s. Over time tap started to have a more "jazzy" feel to it as jazz music became more popular. This is how we came to have modern rhythmic tap.
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was an African American tap dancer. He starred along Shirley Temple in many of her shows. Starting at age 5 he was dancing. He starred on Broadway and was in many films. Not only did he dance, but he also acted. Robinson was a cheerful man and he got his nickname Bojangles because of that. Jim Crow laws forced him to not be able to be onstage with white dancers, except he could dance with children. This is why he starred so frequently with young stars like Shirley Temple. Not only was Robinson an inspiration to African American dancers, he also introduced a new type of tap. In this, tap wasn't as heavy, and flat footed, but more elegant and light, which focused more on the foot technique. Shown below is Bojangles's stairs dance.
Tap in the 1940s and 1950s
During the prohibition period, many clubs had places set up for tap dancers. People sought entertainment. Then during World War ||, many people were hungry for light-hearted amusement. This is when many films used Broadway tap, a musical form of tap. The greats like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Ginger Rogers all made their names. Here are some videos of them.
Tap in the late 1900s
In the 1960s and 1970s the popularity of tap died down because of the increase of interest in jazz and other forms of dance. Tap then came back out of it's shell in the 1980s and 1990s due mainly to the movie "Tap". This brought back tap to the silver screen and showed what it was.
Tap has greatly changed over time. Tap not only is a dance, but it also has had great effect on the United States' culture. Minstrel shows, with the popularity of tap dance, took place during time of war, discrimination, and other great social struggles. During times of world wars, hardships, and other problems tap always brought warm entertainment to our country. It has become that tap is not incredibly popular, but can still be seen on Broadway and in many dance studios. Tap has become a fun and lively activity through out the country of The United States.
Thank you for watching! I hope you learned about the history of tap dance.
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