Tap Dance Essay

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Tap 2 DA220 Spring Semester 2009 Written Assignment Tap dance is an art form that has developed over time through many cultures and people coming together and creating sounds. It is not surprising to note the many variations and concentrations available in tap dance when you think to its historical background. Tap dancing came to America not as tap dance but as the varying traditions and customs of the peoples immigrating into this country. In the 17th century large groups of people left England in search of a new home that was open to the ideas of freedom and individual choice. At the same time a large group of people where exiting Africa, however not by choice. These people were part of the slave trade and were sold to slave traders who were bringing them to America to work. By the late 1920’s you could see three different types of immigrant factions taking up residence in America; the wealthy, the middle class and the Africans. All three groups had their own style of dancing. The wealthy with their minuets, gavottes and quadrilles; the middle class with their jigs, reels and clogs; and finally the Africans with their energetic, percussive, into the ground dancing. Together all of these would come together and form what we know as tap dancing. Not all of the blending of these cultures took place on purpose. In families that had slaves, the slaves lived in the house with their masters and because of this; they observed European dances of the plantation owners. They began to mimic their owners in the pompous manners they used to dance and added kicks among other things as they did it. This became so popular that many plantations began to have competitions showing one group of slaves dance against another. The winner usually was awarded with a cake and these dances became known as the cakewalk. Eventually these dances reached

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