Tap America: How a Nation Found it’s Feet

Entered into Best Use of Footage in a Music Production by BBC Studios

Clarke Peters explores the origins, development and modern significance of this great American vernacular art form he has loved since a child – Tap Dancing. Using a brilliant rich tapestry of archive including the first ever soundless archive of tap dancing from the late C19, Peters explores the joy and cultural role of tap as a predominantly Afro-American tradition.

The Hollywood Greats like Fred Astaire actually owed much of their style to the craft and innovation of black performers such as John Bubbles, Bill Bojangles Robinson, The Nicholas Brothers and Baby Laurence who had cameos in movies as waiters, cooks etc. Yet from the 1950s to the 1970s, Tap was almost single-handedly kept alive in the mainstream by the genius of Sammy Davis Jr. Clarke’s journey concludes with the fascinating story of the “Tap Revival” of the early 1980s – spearheaded by the legendary Gregory Hines – and finds out how tap was made modern again, culminating in the Hip-Hop-inspired hoofing of Savion Glover and beyond.

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