NATIONAL TAP DANCE DAY
National Tap Dance Day on May 25th pays tribute to one of America’s original art forms.
Tap dance is a percussive dance dating back to the early 1800s developed primarily from African and Irish influences.
Incorporating complex rhythmic step combinations, performers often expressed enormous amounts of character through sound and bodily movement. From clogging to buck and wing styles, soft-shoe to the sand step, and a little bit of jazz, tap dancing evolved from a stiff Irish jig to the bodily Cakewalk and vocal Ring-shout.
Some of the art form’s most talented dancers included Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Fred Astaire, Gregory Hines, and Ginger Rogers. But they are just the tip of a long list of performers who added their own flair to a dance style that continues to influence film, music, and stage. Another dance similar to tap dance is called soft-shoe. While still rhythmic, the sound is muffled since tap shoes are not necessary to perform the steps. Many of the dance steps in tap transfer to soft-shoe making the two very compatible.
The popular Shim Sham of the vaudeville era became a line dance in the 1980s.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalTapDanceDay
Share your favorite tap dance experiences. Who is your favorite tap dancer? Let us know by using #NationalTapDanceDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL TAP DANCE DAY HISTORY
The brainchild of Carol Vaughn, Nicola Daval, and Linda Christensen, National Tap Dance Day was first presented to U.S. Congress on February 7, 1989, and was signed into American Law by President George. H.W. Bush on November 8, 1989. The one-time official observance was on May 25, 1989. May 25 is the birthday of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, a significant contributor to tap dance born in 1878. The observance has continued to be celebrated each year on May 25th.
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