National Tap Dance Day is celebrated on May 25 to honor the art of tap dancing. This dance form incorporates complex rhythmic step combinations and an expression of character through sound and body movements. Tap dancing has many styles from clogging to soft-shoe, jazz, and many more. This fun and exciting holiday is also celebrated in other countries apart from the U.S. such as Japan, Australia, India, and Iceland.
History of National Tap Dance Day
National Tap Dance Day was the idea of Carol Vaughn, Nicola Daval, and Linda Christensen. It was first presented to the U.S. Congress on February 7, 1989, and thereafter President George H.W. Bush signed it into the U.S. American Law on November 8, 1989. It was officially observed for the first time on May 25, 1989. The date of this day has another interesting history. May 25 is actually the birthday of Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, a significant contributor to tap dance.
There are some theories regarding the origins of tap dance. It’s believed that tap dance originated in the 19th century in the United States when slave owners took away the traditional African percussion instruments. To express themselves, the slaves turned to percussive dancing. These styles of dance with clog dancing from the British Isles created a unique form of rhythm and movement.
Thereafter, tap dancing evolved significantly. At the turn of the 20th century, it became an important feature of popular Vaudeville variety shows. Tap dancers started incorporating complex syncopated rhythms into their movements. Some of the other talented tap dancers include Fred Astaire, Gregory Hines, and Ginger Rogers. These personalities made tap dance extremely popular and, over the years, it has become one of the favorite dance forms.
It made its entry into Hollywood during the period from 1930 to 1950 where tap dance became a staple in movies and on television. Shirley Temple, in fact, made her film tap dance debut at the age of six. Tap dance has become so loved that from 2016 onwards, it has generated more than 27 million mentions on social media.
National Tap Dance Day timeline
The first tap dance appears as dancers from across the world combine their ideas in the New World.
Tap dance becomes an important component of the creative output of various communities.
The first tap shoes with metal plates are invented.
Representatives lobby with the government to dedicate a day for tap dancing.
National Tap Dance Day FAQs
Who is the most famous tap dancer?
Bill Robson is regarded as an important figure in tap dancing. National Tap Dance Day is even celebrated on his birthday. He made his mark on Broadway, radio, and television, as well as in vaudeville and Hollywood. He has even danced alongside Shirley Temple in films.
Why was National Tap Dance Day created?
Tap dancing is a fusion of British and West-African musical and step-dance traditions, which originated from the southern United States.
What culture is tap dance?
Tap dancing evolved from a mix of different cultures and people, most notably from African American slaves and Irish indentured servants.
How To Celebrate National Tap Dance Day
Learn about Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson
National Tap Dance Day is a fantastic opportunity for you to read about the renowned tap dancer that contributed significantly to this dance. In fact, this day is celebrated on Bill Robinson’s birthday. It’d be a fitting tribute to look into the history of this celebrity tap dancer.
Go out for a tap-dancing show
Why not head out and watch a tap-dancing show? There are many events on National Tap Dance Day. You can find one that’s taking place in your area and head out with your friends to watch this super fun dance form.
Take a tap dancing class
Have you ever thought about learning tap dancing? Well, now’s the time to start. Celebrate National Tap Dance Day by signing up for a class or maybe make a date with your partner to attend a tap dance workshop!
5 Facts About Tap Dancing That You Should Know
Using soles of feet
When tap dancing originated, African American slaves would use the soles of their feet to tap dance.
Early tap dance shoes
Before the proper shoes were invented for tap dancing, people stuck pennies on their shoes to make the tapping sound.
Tap shoes can be considered musical instruments.
Tap dancing can be used as a secret language to communicate with Morse code.
Tap dance styles
This dance form has various styles to it such as Broadway, classical, rhythm, funk, and jazz.
Why We Love National Tap Dance Day
Tap dance teaches rhythm and musicality
Tap dancing requires skilled footwork in sync with musical notes. It’s is a great way to find your inner rhythm and develop and enhance your sense of the beat of the music.
Tap dance is fun fitness
If you are health-conscious and want a fun way to incorporate fitness into your life, then tap dancing is a great option. The various difficulty levels provide a great workout and it’s still fun to get your body moving. Tap dancing is actually an aerobic activity and can help you tone up.
Anyone can tap dance
Think twice before you convince yourself you can’t tap dance. That’s the best part about this American dance form, it’s for anyone and everyone. With a little bit of practice and focus, you can master this dance and show off your moves. It’s a great day for someone to fall in love with dancing.
National Tap Dance Day dates