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Scholars Day: April 10, 2013

Tap Dance: An Exploration of an Art Form’s Trajectory on the Concert Stage

The narrative of tap dance history is rife with issues of race, class, and gender. As people came to the Americas – some by choice, others by force – cultures met and mingled, and their traditions fused. Through this process of cultural blending new American art forms emerged. In the U.S. tap dance developed out of African and European influences through informal settings like gatherings of slaves and indentured servants in the Caribbean in the 1600s and on street corners in the 1900s. Following the formal stage trajectory of minstrel shows, to vaudeville, and eventually to the concert stage of today, tap dance became a popular entertainment, embodying music and dance to the delight of its audience. But is tap dance merely entertainment? What can be said of the artistry of the dancers, the rhythmic musicality of the footwork, and the full-bodied connection to the music? Does it have to be one or the other or can it be both simultaneously? This presentation will proffer possible answers to these questions and others around the purportedly opposing relationship between art and entertainment.

Presenter: Janet Schroeder (Graduate Student)
Topic: Dance
Location: Hartwell Dance Theatre
Time: 10:45 am (Session II)
Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.