2015, by Brian Seibert. "Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction. Magisterial, revelatory, and-most suitably-entertaining, What the Eye Hears offers an authoritative account of the great American art of tap dancing. Brian Seibert, a dance critic for The New York Times, begins by exploring tap's origins as a hybrid of the jig and clog dancing from the British Isles and dances brought from Africa by slaves. He tracks tap's transfer to the stage through blackface minstrelsy and charts its growth as a cousin to jazz in the vaudeville circuits and nightclubs of the early twentieth century. Seibert chronicles tap's spread to ubiquity on Broadway and in Hollywood, analyzes its decline after World War II, and celebrates its rediscovery and reinvention by new generations of American and international performers. In the process, we discover how the history of tap dancing is central to any meaningful account of American popular culture. This is a story with a huge cast of characters, from Master Juba (it was probably a performance of his in a Five Points cellar that Charles Dickens described in American Notes for General Circulation) through Bill Robinson and Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and Gene Kelly and Paul Draper to Gregory Hines and Savion Glover. Seibert traces the stylistic development of tap through individual practitioners, vividly depicting dancers both well remembered and now obscure. And he illuminates the cultural exchange between blacks and whites over centuries, the interplay of imitation and theft, as well as the moving story of African-Americans in show business, wielding enormous influence as they grapple with the pain and pride of a complicated legacy.What the Eye Hears teaches us to see and hear the entire history of tap in its every step."
2010, by Constance Valis Hill. "Here is the vibrant, colorful, high-stepping story of tap--the first comprehensive, fully documented history of a uniquely American art form, exploring all aspects of the intricate musical and social exchange that evolved from Afro-Irish percussive step dances like the jig, gioube, buck-and-wing, and juba to the work of such contemporary tap luminaries as Gregory Hines, Brenda Bufalino, Dianne Walker, and Savion Glover. In Tap Dancing America, Constance Valis Hill, herself an accomplished jazz tap dancer, choreographer, and performance scholar, begins with a dramatic account of a buck dance challenge between Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Harry Swinton at Brooklyn's Bijou Theatre, on March 30, 1900, and proceeds decade by decade through the 20th century to the present day. She vividly describes tap's musical styles and steps--from buck-and-wing and ragtime stepping at the turn of the century; jazz tapping to the rhythms of hot jazz, swing, and bebop in the '20s, '30s and '40s; to hip-hop-inflected hitting and hoofing in heels (high and low) from the 1990s right up to today. Tap was long considered "a man's game," and Hill's is the first history to highlight such outstanding female dancers as Ada Overton Walker, Kitty O'Neill, and Alice Whitman, at the turn of the 20th century, as well as the pioneering women composers of the tap renaissance, in the 70s and 80s, and the hard-hitting rhythm-tapping women of the millennium such as Chloe Arnold, Ayodele Casel, Michelle Dorrance, and Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards. Written with all the verve and grace of tap itself, drawing on eye-witness accounts of early performances as well as interviews with today's greatest tappers, and richly illustrated with over ninety images, Tap Dancing America fills a major gap in American dance history and places tap firmly center stage."
2002, by Mark Knowles. "Tracing the development of tap dancing from ancient India to the Broadway stage in 1903, when the word Tap was first used in publicity to describe this new American style of dance, this text separates the cultural, societal and historical events that influenced the development of Tap dancing.Section One covers primary influences such as Irish step dancing, English clog dancing and African dancing. Section Two covers theatrical influences (early theatrical developments, Daddy Rice, the Virginia Minstrels) and Section Three covers various other influences (Native American, German and Shaker). Also included are accounts of the people present at tap's inception and how various styles of dance were mixed to create a new art form."
2002, by Beverly Fletcher. "As the official reference manual of the Dance Masters of America, this tap dance resource contains more than 1,500 up-to-date entries about every facet of this uniquely American art form. It provides a history of tap dance as well as the dancers who defined it. This manual also includes a comprehensive dictionary of tap and dance terminology with a special section devoted to teachers."
1998, by Mark Knowles. "The language of tap dancing is as rich and varied as that of any art, and different choreographers, teachers and performers often use totally different terms for exactly the same step. The various names of all steps and clear descriptions of them are collected for the first time in this reference work. The emphasis is on all variations of a name, from universally recognized terms to simple pet names that individual performers and choreographers have created, with extensive cross-references provided. Each of the steps is fully described, with appropriate counts, explanations and history. Many antique and unusual steps such as the Patting Juba, the Quack, and the Swanee Shuffle are included."
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