Mixing Cultures: Tap Dancing

William Henry Lane

William Henry Lane (1825 – 1852) was known as Master Juba and the “Juba dance,” also known as “Pattin’ Juba,” was a mix of European Jig, Reel Steps, Clog and African Rhythms. It became popular around 1845. This was, some say, the creation of Tap in America as a theatrical art form and American Jazz dance.

Tap dancing started with the Africans in early America who would beat out rhythms in their dances with brushing and shuffling movements of the feet.

These dancers came to be called Levee Dancers throughout the south. White performers copied many of these intricate steps and the Shuffle Dance style would eventually find fame within the minstrel shows around 1830.

Tap Dance and Irish Clogging share deep roots. The most difficult of the Irish clogs are the Irish Jigs and Hornpipes. In some of these the feet can tap the floor more than seventy times in fifteen seconds. Irish clog dancer, John “Jack” Diamond (1828 – 1850) was considered one of the greatest “Jig dancers” of all time.

In clog dancing, no thought is given to the upper body. Almost rigid — the shoulders and the arms are kept motionless. This trait is evident in the early, Black “Buck and Wing” style tap dancing. The Irish clog dance all but disappeared by the end of the 19th century because of the mixing of the Clog and the African-American tap dances. Modern tap dancing evolved though the years 1900 to 1920.

Read more: http://www.theatredance.com/tap/










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  1. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto
    a coworker who was conducting a little homework
    on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I
    found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this….

    Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about
    this subject here on your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Latti Ice

       /  October 22, 2014

      Thank you Shenna, glad I could be of help; I hope the meal was good lol. ^_^



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