Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy National Tap Dance Day!

source: Capezio

May 25 is National Tap Dance Day, the date selected because it's the birthday of Bojangles. (I knew a man Bojangles and he danced for you/in worn out shoes) According to Wiki, some celebrate it by doing the Shim Sham Shimmy (shuffle step, shuffle step, shuffle ball-change, shuffle step, etc) in the streets. Evidently flash mobs are not as new a phenomena as some might think.

Growing up, I always wanted to tap. When different organizations sent home lists of available dance classes, I always looked for tap. I never took up dance, of any kind, until joining Vicki's Tap Pups in 2008, but I always knew that that was the genre that had my heart.
Some of my favorite tappers, in no particular order, include:

Gregory Hines, here performing for and with Sammy Davis Jr

(My favorite Gregory Hines clip is in Will & Grace, when Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) challenges him to a tap-off, but I couldn't find that bit on YouTube. If you find it, please, send it my way.)

Gene Kelly, who even wears taps in a field of heather on a hill in a town that doesn't exist.
Here he is with Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor. Debbie Reynolds once said that she was a novice hoofer when she got on set with these guys, but she sure doesn't show it!

Also, Gene Kelly in Ballin' the Jack, followed by a chair medley with Donald O'Connor

Vera Ellen in White Christmas

Ann Miller (it should be noted that Kiss Me, Kate was originally filmed in 3D, which is why she randomly throws things at the camera)

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (doing everything Astaire did, backwards and in heels)

Arthur Duncan on the Lawrence Welk Show

Savion Glover

Tap Dogs, in whose honor the Tap Pups were named

and of course the Rockettes.

(also, here is a Wall Street Journal behind the scenes bit on the Rockettes)

I leave you with the Tap-off from Gregory Hines' 1980 movie, Tap. It features "old hoofers" Jimmy Slyde, Harold Nicholas, Steve Condos, Sammy Davis Jr., Sandman Simms, Bunny Briggs, and Arthur Duncan, schooling Gregory Hines. (The boy in the baseball cap, who doesn't tap in this scene is the actual Tap Dance Kid, Savion Glover.)

Mr Bojangles.
Mr Bojangles?

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