Tap Roots: The Early History of Tap Dancing

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Tracing the development of tap dancing from ancient India to the Broadway stage in 1903, when the word "Tap" was first used in publicity to describe this new American style of dance, this text separates the cultural, societal and historical events that influenced the development of Tap dancing.

Section One covers primary influences such as Irish step dancing, English clog dancing and African dancing. Section Two covers theatrical influences (early theatrical developments, "Daddy" Rice, the Virginia Minstrels) and Section Three covers various other influences (Native American, German and Shaker). Also included are accounts of the people present at tap's inception and how various styles of dance were mixed to create a new art form.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
extensive research...recommended...will satisfy readers who would like more early history
Classic Images
photos are outstanding...a superior contribution...more than commendable, it's indispensable...fascinating
this lively and engaging book embodies the vitality, energy, and syncopated rhythm of the dance form it discusses...an excellent resource guide
Library Journal
Having conducted extensive research on the origins of tap, choreographer Knowles (American Acad. of Dramatic Arts, Los Angeles; The Tap Dance Dictionary) here discusses this art form in terms of three broad influences: primary, theatrical, and "other." Primary influences includes Irish (clog), English, African, West Indian, and Plantation styles, while theatrical influences incorporate the worlds of minstrel, vaudeville, and music hall. Other influences include Indian, Gypsy, German, Shaker, Native American, and American country quite a variety. Knowles successfully interweaves the immigrant and slave influences on the dance that slowly evolved into early tap and adds a bit of early theatrical history when profiling the careers of "Daddy" Rice, Master Juba, and others. He concludes that the development of any dance form is linked to climatic, geographical, and economic factors, as well as costume. Basically an academic text for dance and theater history courses, this book includes reproductions of sheet music covers, photos, and playbills that reflect the times. Recommended for academic libraries. Barbara Kundanis, Batavia P.L., IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
An investigation into the influences on American tap dancing. Knowles (American Academy of Dramatic Arts) identifies English clog dancing, Irish step dancing, and African dancing as the primary influences on the art form and devotes separate chapters to explaining the dances both as art and as social practice. Further chapters explore similar themes related to theatrical influences and other influences such as Native American and Asian dances. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786412679
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/20/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 283
  • Sales rank: 880,102
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Knowles, choreographer of more than 300 theatrical productions, is on the faculty of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, California.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Pt. I Primary Influences
Ch. 1 Irish Influences 7
Ch. 2 English Influences 15
Ch. 3 African Influences 22
Ch. 4 Dance in the West Indies 27
Ch. 5 Dance in New Orleans 34
Ch. 6 Dance on the Plantation 38
Ch. 7 Slave Religion and the Ring Shout 55
Ch. 8 Dispersion of African-American Dances 63
Pt. II Theatrical Influences
Ch. 9 Early Theatrical Developments 73
Ch. 10 "Daddy" Rice 78
Ch. 11 The King of Diamonds and Master Juba 86
Ch. 12 The Virginia Minstrels 93
Ch. 13 The Development of the Minstrel Show 100
Ch. 14 Black Minstrelsy and Musical Theatre 117
Ch. 15 Other Forms of Entertainment 127
Ch. 16 Vaudeville 135
Ch. 17 English Music Hall 150
Ch. 18 Women on the Stage 156
Pt. III Other Influences
Ch. 19 Indian, Gypsy, and Spanish Influences 167
Ch. 20 German and Shaker Influences 174
Ch. 21 Native American Influences 182
Ch. 22 American Country Dance 190
Ch. 23 Conclusions 200
Notes 211
Bibliography 249
Index 259
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