Tap dancing is a remarkable skill. Watching someone tap well will keep you on the edge of your sit. A tap dancer moves with incredible speed and precision. Each move they make serves their purpose of keeping the rhythm and the appearance of hovering over the ground. It is quite a thing to watch a master tap dancer to do his thing. Let us pay homage today to some of the best African-American tap dancers of old and today. We will discuss this artform briefly and then take a look at some of the greatest exponents of it. Let us go ahead and start.
We are going to name here the most famous black tap dancers of all time. These artists found a way to express themselves through tap dancing like very few others has managed to do so. They made tap-dancing their own and, in some cases, developed it further. They have managed to take this art form and keep it current up to this day. Let us begin.
Bojangles was his nickname. He was born in the latter half of the 19th century. He had to make a name and career for himself when it was not easy for African-Americans to establish themselves in any genre. He had to evolve in this regard with the times. By the end of his career, he had become one of the most successful artists of his time. He managed to fight segregation and all sorts of related issues to become the entertainment legend that he is. He updated his art, which took the form that we know today based on lightness and specific moves.
Gregory Hines was an incredible dancer and choreographer. He is widely regarded as the man that brought tap dancing into the 21st century. He did so by adding quite a few things that were not used in tap dancing before. He fused it with other more current trends in music. You could say that he was born for it. He started tapping when he was merely two years of age, by the age of five he was almost a professional. He was the link between all the great dancers of the past and the new trends in the musical scene of his time. He will be remembered for bridging that gap and bringing new life to the genre.
Glover is one of the most important names when it comes to tapping in this current age. He was regarded by Hines (who was one of his teachers) as possibly the best tap dancer that has ever lived. Coming from such a legend those words have a lot of weight to them. As it is the case with many artists Savion Glover started dancing at a very young age. He never stopped developing and growing. Relating tap dancing to the current grooves and trends of today’s music. He has been very active in broadway and has also worked as a choreographer in various shows. He is one of the main stars of the genre because of his ability and freshness. You can expect to see even greater things to come from this young dancer in the upcoming years. He is certainly poised to jump to even greater heights.
Eleanor Torrey Powell
Eleanor Powell was an American dancer who became famous for dancing professionally during the 1930s and 40s. She was often referred to as "the first lady of dance". Her most notable film appearances include Broadway Rhythm (1937), Swing Time (1936) and Easter Parade (1948). She died at age 59 from cancer.
What is Tap
Now that we have covered broadly famous tap dancers, here are some details related to tap dancing.
Tap dancing is a form of art that goes back a very long time. It has influences from a wide variety of styles of music. Afro rhythms and Caribbean local music are only a couple of the roots of this art form. It is one of the great American artistic contributions along with jazz. They are unique disciplines that have become widely known and practiced. It takes quite a lot of time to master it and requires discipline and a deep love for it to become good at it.
Tap dancing is characterized by a particular kind of rhythm. It is not easy to keep tempo, sound good, and look good while doing it. Add to that the fact that any step makes a sound and has to be part of your performance. It can be quite hard at first to learn the moves and stay on top of all these details at the same time. On top of that, the kind of syncopated rhythm featured in tap dancing is quite hard to maintain, it is a very common kind of beat in a few different musical genres of similar origins.
Tap dancing is enabled by a special kind of shoe. Tap dancing shoes have their soles reinforced with a piece of metal that will produce the sound we all expect when it beats on the floor. They can be a bit expensive to get and are a nightmare if you have neighbors on the floor below. Other than those two drawbacks they are a lot of fun to use once you get the hang of it. If you can manage to learn the first few moves you will be dancing in no time.
Keeping an art form alive is no easy feat. It is very challenging to make something as dynamic as art change enough to stay with the times and, at the same time, not lose the essence of what made it original and unique. This hard task can only be achieved by great masters of their craft. People who have spent their lives doing the discipline that they chose. That is certainly the case with the three dancers that we explored here today. It is great to see that this unique American Contribution has managed to stay current and strong throughout the decades. We are sure that this will continue to be the case in the future.