Why are Tuesday nights the best, you might be wondering? Because Tuesday is tap dance night. And tonight was especially sweet because it was my first night back after having surgery almost 3 weeks ago (more on the surgery in another post). I love Tuesday nights because it is the one night of the week where I can go to 1) socialize and learn something new, 2) let my mind forget about everything else in life that might be stressful and think of nothing but TAP (it was such a great distraction the night before my surgery), and 3) listen to the magic of that sweet, sweet sound of metal striking a wooden floor in the way only a tap dancer can work it. Half the thrill for me is just listening to the sound, although when you are watching someone who is really in their element it’s almost as if there are more sounds coming from their feet than seems possible from the movements you can see with your eyes. It’s mesmerizing, to say the least.
You’re probably familiar with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers…well, if you are old enough. But there’s so much more to tap dance: Shirley Temple, Eleanor Powell, Bill (Bojangles) Robinson, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gregory Hines, and, a relatively young dancer, Savion Glover. Also, check out the Nicholas Brothers, one of my favorite tap duos. There is a 3:10 minute clip of one of their most famous dances from musical film Stormy Weather (1943). Do yourself a favor and do a quick internet search for this clip. If your jaw isn’t sitting in your lap by the end of the clip, then there is something wrong with you. Fred Astaire said it was probably one of the best performances ever filmed, if that says anything. I drool every time I watch it. Then I go back for more.
As a child I took dance lessons that included tap, jazz (modern dance), and ballet. Tap was always my favorite, and the style that I always hoped we would do for our annual recitals. Unfortunately, we never learned anything about the history of tap or any of the pioneers in tap dancing. Only now, in my adult class, am I becoming acquainted with some of these names that I had never heard of before. It’s refreshing to learn about these giants in the tap dancing world, and then learn some of the moves that they invented. And now I know the who behind the step, whereas before it was just another step in a dance routine. Maybe the thinking was that as kids we wouldn’t appreciate the history behind the tap. Maybe that’s true. But I do know that now, older and wiser that I am, it makes for a fuller tap experience. I guess better late than never. And speaking of recitals, we’ve got one coming up this spring. Holy cow, I haven’t performed a dance routine in front of an audience in decades. This is going to be interesting…and probably post-worthy.
Oh, and did I mention that while I was away, my class sent me a get well soon card wishing me a speedy recovery? The return address was THE TAP CLASS. How cool is that?! Getting that card in the mail really made my day…Awwww, I love my tap class!