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So You Think You Can(‘t) Tap Dance

November 6, 2009

All this hubbub about SYTYCD’s lamer than lame attempt at representing tap dance on TV in America has really got me thinking about the dangers of this downturn in the exposure to tap dance for the current generation. I have to wonder, if I never saw Shirley Temple dancing on the stairs with Bill Robinson…

…or Astaire and Powell being perfection…

…or Gregory Hines dancing with…well….everyone in Tap

…or Savion on Sesame Street…

would I be a tap dancer today?

As Sarah Savelli said in her blog about this ridiculousness, young people want to do what they see, and if they never see tap, they won’t want to do it. It’s so frustrating to think of the way tap has painstakingly been preserved and passed down and explored and know that this upcoming generation just doesn’t see tap…they just don’t care. Tap is America’s dance form. It has been the influence for all the dance forms we think of today as being a major part of our culture-jazz dance, hip hop, break-dancing….

And the truth is, while you’d never know it from the piece SYTYCD actually did decide to show, tap is being explored in exciting new ways all over the world. It has new movement, new emotion, new ways of communicating…it’s growing.

Seems to me it would be a great time to reintroduce tap to the world. As much a I will always (always) adore Savion and as much as I love those old movies, we need a new view…a new face…and new tappers with the kind of star power and inspiration that we got from Gregory and Savion. I think the reason we’re all so frustrated with this slap in the face from SYTYCD (by the way, you’ll notice I am not linking to this clip…if you missed it…google it….) is that they are the perfect platform to do this….and yet, they just don’t get it either.

(Sidenote: if you’re fired up now, hop on over and support Saravelli on Facebook)

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