|Written by Vanessa van Rensburg|
|Wednesday, 01 April 2009 15:38|
The Unique American Art Form of Tap Dance
Tap was created from combining elements of African drumming and dancing with the techniques of European clog and step dancing. The unique rhythms of jazz music distinguish American tap dance from all other kinds of dancing based on percussive footwork.
Between the 1600's and early 1800's, tap slowly evolved from European step dances like the jig and clog and a variety of secular and religious African step dances that were loosely labelled "juba" dances and "ring shouts." Danced primarily by enslaved Africans, this blend of jig and juba was transferred to the minstrel stage, and there it was polished into something identifiable as "American tap dance."
After the Civil War, vibrant new steps were added to the tap vocabulary including syncopated 'stop time,' 'soft shoe,' 'waltz clog,' and 'time step.' Dancers relaxed their postures and arms and shoulders were often used for whimsical gestures.
With vaudeville, great individual talents like Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and John Bubbles helped to refine rhythm tap dance, and later Hollywood popularized tap dance worldwide with films featuring Fred Astaire, the Nicholas Brothers, and Eleanore Powell, among others.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 July 2009 12:46|