May 25th is National Tap Dance Day!
I keep this art dear to my heart. It was the first genre of dance that I was introduced to at the adorable age of 4 and it has stuck with me. In fact, I still have a pair of tap shoes in my closet.
Tap dancing is characterized as using the sound of the metal “taps” on the shoe to strike the floor as a form of percussion. (Ryan, guess what! I’m a percussionist, too. Woah!) There are two variations of tap: Broadway, which focuses on the dancing, and Jazz, which focuses on the rhythm.
Tap dancing has roots in many percussive dance forms, but the tap we know today dates back to the mid-1800s. Tap was first made popular in minstrel shows and then again in Vaudeville.
Gene Kelly, one of my favorite dancers is known for his tap dancing. His work in Singin’ in the Rain inspired my love of dance. But arguably the greatest tap dancers of all time are the Nicholas Brothers. Here’s a clip of Fayard and Harold Nicholas from their film Stormy Weather.