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Scholars Day 2007, Wednesday, April 11

HerStory: Women in Tap During the 1930s and 1940s

Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, John Williams ‘Bubbles’ Sublett, Charles ‘Honi’ Coles, Jimmy Slyde, Sandman Sims, Cholly Atkins and the Nicholas Brothers are all legendary master tap artists of the 1930s and 1940s. These African American male artists’ stories and contributions to dance can be found documented in books, magazines, photographs and videos in libraries and in dance history studies in the United States. In a quest for social gender equality in the documentation and preservation of tap dance history, this study will address issues of gender equality, politics, and economics by delving into the stories of African American women in tap (the Silver Belles, the Whitman Sisters, Harriet ‘Quicksand’ Browne, and more) with the intent to ensure that their profitable contribution to the art form is recognized. The source material on legendary tap artists of the 1930s and 1940s, in presentation, seems focused on male artists and does not visibly include the influence and impact that women have contributed to the field.

Presenter: Crystal Malone (Graduate Student)
Topic: Dance
Location: Hartwell Strasser Dance Studio
Time: 11 am (Session II)