Friday, May 25, 2012

National Tap Dance Day

May 25th is National Tap Dance Day!

Here is another Fun Facts post for you:

This special day is a celebration of tap dancing as an American Art Form. National Tap Dance Day was first presented to congress on September 15, 1988. They day became a law in 1989. National Tap Dance Day is also celebrated in other countries such as Japan, Australia, India and Iceland. You might be wondering why May 25 was selected as National Tap Dance Day. May 25 was chosen because it is the birthday of the famous Bill ‘Bo Jangles’ Robinson. Bo Jangles was a significant contributor to tap dancing.

Tap dancing has the distinction of being a uniquely America art form. Tap dancing originated as Juba, a kind of dance practiced by African slaves. It melded with Irish dancing and continued to alter as it encountered the influence of jazz dance. Before there were tap shoes, dancers wore soft shoes or clogs.

I, personally, have a history of tap dancing, as do many women of my generation. In 1932, I was three years old, when it seems that every mother wanted her little darling to be Shirley Temple. So… I was whisked off to a tap dancing class. I am sure I looked cute in my little dance costume ‘shuffling off to Buffalo’. I will bet you could ask any woman my age to show you that dance step and she can still do the step, as can I.

By the age of seven, I had tapped my way out of a group company and had private lessons. This became a problem when I had to be driven into the city for my lessons. Every Sunday afternoon, the whole family would pile into our Ford automobile to take ‘Sissy’ for a dance lesson. My brothers were happy with this because they spent the hour of my lesson in a fancy ice-cream parlor. Unfortunately, my dancing career ended after three months of me throwing up on the ride home, with my brothers hanging their heads out of the car windows, and my mother crying, “We’re almost home, Sissy.” 

I still love to dance and I often dance for exercise, hoping no one sees me. I will happily celebrate National Tap Dance Day on May 25.

Tap Dancing Website:

 By Lois Jamieson

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