Dance Tribute 4/27/12: Tap Dance!
Okay, so I took tap dance lessons as a kid back in the 1960s. Yep, I’m old. And to this day, I can still remember that song played on the piano at Smith Sisters Dance Studio. It was so cool having tap dance lessons with a real piano player. I usually teach to cassettes and CDs, so most dance students don’t get a chance to study with real, live music.
Tap dance was one of my favorite dance classes. It’s much harder than it looks. I remember taking Flamenco dance workshops and that challenging footwork reminded me of my tap lessons.
I’m a big sucker and huge fan of the old movie musicals, especially those from the 1930s. In particular, I love seeing tap dances by Eleanor Powell, The Nicholas Brothers and Bill Bonjangles!
I had a copy of That’s Entertainment on VHS and I would watch it all the time with my granddaughters. We have so much fun watching our favorite dance scenes and then getting up to dance along with them. I just got That’s Entertainment parts 1, 2 & 3 on DVD (Blue-Ray, no less) and so glad that now I can just skip to my favorite scenes instead having to fast forward and rewind a VHS tape.
The movie musicals from the 1930s are my favorite. That was the Golden Age for musicals, that has not ever been topped since.
Everyone has their favorite TAP DANCERS or favorite TAP DANCE SCENES from movies or TV clips, such as Gregory Hines, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, the list goes on and on.
Here are my FAVORITE TAP DANCERS & TAP SCENES:
1. THE QUEEN OF TAP – Eleanor Powell. Wow can this lady dance! She is the best tap dance soloist in the world in the history of time. I love all of the turns, flips, kicks, stops and also creativity in mixing tap with Hula or Matador style. Did she introduce or INVENT PASO DOBLE?
2. THE BEST TAP DUET EVER – The Nicholas Brothers, Fayard & Harold. Did you know that Debbie Allen, Janet Jackson & Michael Jackson studied with them? Makes sense. As I said before you can’t go wrong in dance if you just do what Debbie Allen does. And Michael Jackson, what a dance perfectionist! He could have had a career in Tap – one of the best modern day tappers.
3. THE BEST TAP DANCE SCENE IN A MOVIE – The Gold Diggers of Hollywood, Lullaby to Broadway. I remember the old clips of this movie and my favorite scene is when they shoe the UNDERNEATH view of the 3 dudes tapping so hard, I thought they could tap their feet to death, LOL!
4. THE CUTEST KIDS TAP DANCING – Of course Shirley Temple, tap dancing in many of her movies. I love seeing her dance with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Honorable mention to Janet Jackson tap dancing on the Jacksons Show.
5. THE BEST MUSICAL FILM DIRECTOR OF ALL TIME – Busby Berkeley. The man with a vision. The man that gave you dance and singing from a DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW. He changed movie and musical history by inventing and reinventing musicals.
I had a day off work today and spent many hours viewing some of my past favorite tap dancers. It was so much fun watching so I would like to share my favorite tap dancers and tap dance scenes with you:
One of my favorite dances by Eleanor Powell, the Queen of Tap!
WOW! I love it whenever I watch this clip. One of the best all-time dance scenes ever! Thrilling! I can’t believe the jump/splits on the stairs. And how close they were to the musicians, I thought one dude was gonna be kicked in the head LOL.
I LOVE this dance! So creative to mix Hula & Tap. Love the turns and quick stops in the turns. Fabulous!
It’s good to see a Show Judge “PRACTIC WHAT THEY PREACH” by showing that they really can dance! Nigel, you think you can dance, YOU CAN DANCE! I hope they show more of Nigel dancing and choreographing dances in future episodes of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!
Again, a great mix of dance styles, this time tap & Paso Doble. By the way, you don’t see this style very often in old movie musicals. Did Eleanor Powell introduce Paso Doble for future Ballroom Dance?
Love watching Mr. Tap, Bill Bojangles Robinson. I watch this with my granddaughters and they get up and imitate Shirley Temple. They are as cute as she is.
Check the 3 dudes tapping real hard at 1:50. Damn! They are tapping their asses off! I love how they show the 3 viewpoints, the front view, overhead and UNDERNEATH so you can see the shoes tapping. The shoes tapping is one of my favorite, favorite dance scenes.
This is PRICELESS! My favorite singing group the Jackson 5 with Janet, LaToya & Rebbie TAP DANCING with The NICHOLAS BROTHERS!!! Michael is really holding his own and is a damn good tapper. And Janet is just so cute!!!
I love the Jackson 5 show because it had contemporary favorites like their hit songs. But the best thing about the show was that it allowed the Jackson Family to branch out and show a WIDE VARIETY of music and dance styles. The talented Jackson Family was not LIMITED to doing the songs from their time, I loved when they did OLD HOLLYWOOD STYLE and did it GREAT! The scene at 6:16 is sort of like a PREMONITION of SMOOTH CRIMINAL, LOL.
Bill Bonjangles is tearing those steps up! Wow! He is the King of Rhythm! And little Shirley Temple is CUTE AS A BUTTON!
Gregory Hines does the SHIM SHAM dance in one of my favorite movies, The History of the World: Part I
Sammy Davis Jr. still going strong in 1990 with Gregory Hines!
Sammy Davis Jr – BURNING THOSE TAP SHOES UP!!!
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Who is your favorite Tap Dancer or favorite Tap Dance Routine?