Tap dance is characterised by rhythmic tapping of the feet. It is often performed with music and is a popular form of dance. Tap dancing has a long history and has been popularised by many famous dancers such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Today, tap dancing is enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Learn more about how tap dancing came to be when you continue reading.
The Early Years of Tap Dance
Tap dancing is often considered a distinctly American art form, but its origins are quite murky. It is believed that the dance originated with the African slaves who were brought to the Americas, who incorporated their traditional dances and rhythms into the new style.
The first recorded instance of tap dancing in the United States was in the early 1800s when a man named William Henry Lane (also known as Master Juba) performed at a minstrel show in New York City. His style of tap dancing, which included a mix of African and Irish steps, was extremely popular and soon caught on with other dancers.
Juba's influence on tap dancing cannot be overstated. He is credited with inventing many of the basic steps and routines still used today, and his style of dancing was imitated by many other dancers of his time. Juba's popularity helped to make tap dancing one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the United States.
Tap Dance and Vaudeville
The history of tap dance is closely linked to the history of vaudeville and minstrelsy.
Vaudeville was a type of entertainment popular in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It typically featured a variety of acts, including musical performances, acrobatics, and comedy. Minstrelsy was a type of entertainment popular in the United States in the early 19th century. It typically featured white performers in blackface makeup who would sing and dance for audiences.
Tap dance emerged from these two forms of entertainment. It was first popularised by dancers such as Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Jimmy Slyde. These dancers brought tap dancing to a wider audience by performing in vaudeville shows and movies.
Tap Dance in Film and Broadway
Tap dancing continued to gain popularity in the 1920s and 1930s when it was featured in several Hollywood films. One of this era's most famous tap dancers was Fred Astaire, who starred in several musical films with his partner, Ginger Rogers. Some of the most popular films featuring tap dancing include Top Hat (1935), Swing Time (1936), and Shall We Dance (1937).
Tap dancing became less prevalent in the 1940s and 1950s but came back in the 1960s with the help of films like The Sound of Music (1965) and West Side Story (1961). In the 1970s and 1980s, tap dancing became popular again thanks to films like The Blues Brothers (1980) and Tap (1989).
Today, tap dancing is still a popular form of entertainment and is often seen in Broadway shows.
Tap dance is a fun and unique dance form with a rich history. Tap dancers use their feet to create rhythms and sounds, and the history of tap dance is full of interesting facts and stories. If you're curious about it, you should consider learning tap dance.
If you’re looking for tap dance classes in East London, Adore Dance is worth checking out. We offer various classes for kids and adults, including tap dancing. Book a trial lesson today, and see if it’s a good match for you.