It was bound to happen, a short opinion piece about the tap dance community. I don’t write a lot about tap dance here because of its niche nature. But the tap dance community is like a microcosm of the world, and I’ve learned a lot from being in it and observing it.
Every few months it seems that an article either declares tap dance dying, or newly alive. We either have a new leader of the field, a new cheerleader, or a new skeptic speaking loudly in the public sphere.
Let me state this with clarity. Tap dance will be alive and well as a cultural expression wherever and whenever someone puts on a pair of tap shoes and hits the floor with their feet. For the craft to be alive has never required commerce.
What the community has always lamented, is the turn away from the music and dances of the 1920s when tap dance was popular – the imagined creative dynamism of that time. What died was an era. And that era, with all that it was, will never make a comeback.
I’m so glad that people are continually being introduced to this beautiful craft, but am tired of the public battle for achievement of some ethereal goal of tap dance returning to the glory of yesteryear.
If we are serious about using the power of the arts for glory, then our efforts should be pointed towards using them to build resilient communities. Then the artifact of our efforts would be of true benefit to the generations to follow.