Rhythm Tap History

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The words “rhythm tap” can be defined as a type of tap dancing that focuses on the acoustic rather than the aesthetic. The emphasis of rhythm tap is based upon what the dancer articulates with his or her sounds rather than the way the performer looks when executing those sounds. The term rhythm tap is used to differentiate between this expressive style of dance with the Broadway or show style of tap that most individuals are accustomed to seeing on stage. Rhythm tap usually tends to be more grounded and often incorporates choreographed movement of body parts other than the feet. But ultimately, it is the sounds that are at the center of this style of dance. Two famous rhythm tappers include Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates and Jason Samuels Smith. Bates…show more content…
Smith began his professional career at an early age through the Frank Hatchett Professional Children’s program at Broadway Dance Center. While at BDC, Smith studied ballet, jazz, and tap. During his young age, he made appearances on the television show, Sesame Street, alongside Savion Glover as the tap-dancing cowboy. Even though Smith was totally engrossed in the dance world during elementary school, he became more interested in sports during his middle school and high school years. It was not until Savion Glover began teaching master classes at the Broadway Dance Center that Smith’s interest of tap dancing was affirmed. He enjoyed Mr. Glover’s more rhythmic classes and heavier hoofing style of dance. At the age of fifteen he signed a contract to understudy the leading role in the Tony Award winning Broadway show, Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk. Following his Broadway debut, Mr. Smith then became a member of Glover’s first dance company, NYOT (Not Your Ordinary Tappers). Smith grew to be an avid collector of film clips that highlighted black tap dancers in old movies which he would watch over and over. He also extended his listening to modern jazz musicians which ultimately began an inquiry into his roots as a socially mindful African-American artist. In present day, Mr. Smith has emerged as a versatile leader in the art form of tap – as performer,…show more content…
Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates inspired people to dance even though they may be different, while Jason Samuels Smith taught people how to think outside the box and pushed them to individualize their own performances. These two remarkable dancers have made their place in the world of tap and successfully laid the groundwork for future tappers to

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