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Tap Dancing AmericaA Cultural History$
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Constance Valis Hill

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195390827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390827.001.0001

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Nostalgia, and All That Tap

Nostalgia, and All That Tap


(p.215) 9 Nostalgia, and All That Tap
Tap Dancing America

Constance Valis Hill

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with a tap challenge on a sidewalk outside the Village Vanguard. This challenge summoned up rhythmic battles of the past between dancers and drummers, and the argument that bebop drummers got their rhythms from jazz hoofers—and that dancers created bebop. Through bebop there emerged a new breed of modern jazz tap dancers. Some, like Honi Coles and Chuck Green, straddled the musical tradition of the swing era, while at the same time forging transitions to the modernity of bebop. Others, like Baby Laurence, Leon Collins, Will Gaines, Bunny Briggs, and Jimmy Slyde, severed ties with swing to explore expressions of bop and hard bop. In this decade of tap’s so-called resurgence, tap dancing experienced nostalgic popularity through Broadway musicals while also being transformed into a concertized expression by Brenda Bufalino, Jane Goldberg, and Lynn Dally, who placed rhythm tap dance within the larger context of art dance.

Keywords:   tap challenge, bebop, jazz hoofers, Honi Coles, Leon Collins, Will Gaines, Bunny Briggs, art dance, Brenda Bufalino, Lynn Dally

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