Tap Classics: Paddle and Roll Heroes, Lon Chaney & Bunny Briggs

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Many contenders could claim to be “the king” of paddle and roll (also called paradiddles) but no other dancer is identified more with the tap step than tap icon, Lon Chaney. Bunny Briggs has also made his mark with the step, as have others. Learn more about paddle and roll and its origins.

Tap Classics: Frank Condos and 5-Count Wings

IMAGE About to begin the tap dance - painting IMAGE

In the 1920s, wings were all the rage, and many variations existed. The Pump, the Pendulum, the Saw, the Double Back… like time steps, most dancers had a signature wing variation. But there was one variation in particular that caught the public’s attention, and it was the 5-count wing, created by Frank Condos.

Tap Classic: Jimmy Slyde and his Signature Sliding

Slyde

Sliding has long been a popular tap step. The novelty of the slide comes from the illusion that the floor has somehow developed a slick surface, giving the impression that the dancer is off balance and could fall at any minute. Discover how it’s done, view classic footage, and learn about the men who made the step famous.

What Do They Mean By ‘Contemporary’ On SYTYCD?

IMAGE Nicola Ayoub reaches a flexed foot in the air with clasped hands. IMAGE

Labels stink but we kind of need them. Contemporary dance is a label that could use a bit of clarification. So many are attempting to sort it all out. An educated guesser, I try to make sense of it all, question, reflect and hopefully inspire some clarity along the way.

Expand Your Library or Horizons: 13 Books on Dance and Culture

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Dr. Renee Rothman, a dancer and cultural anthropologist, share 13 books that address the human meaning and experience of dancing in cultures throughout the world. Selected because they are easy for general audiences to read, these texts cover dance throughout history, Modern Dance, Jazz Dance, and Social Dance in America, Latin Dance, Middle Eastern Dance, and dance in China. Expand your dance library or your horizons with this reading list.

Past and Present Pillow at Your Fingertips

IMAGE In July 1933, Shawn and his Men Dancers started giving public "Tea Lecture Demonstrations" to promote their work. The first audience of 45 curiosity-seekers expanded weekly so that by summer's end, people were turned away: roots for what was to evolve into Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival were established. IMAGE

Three years feels too long since my last visit to Jacob’s Pillow. Dance Interactive is how I’ve been getting my Pillow fix lately. The website provides a tremendous opportunity for educating students and encouraging appreciation for dance on a global level. Drawing from the extensive Jacob Pillow Archives, it is a collection you won’t find elsewhere online.

The Desegregation of Dance and the Pioneers Who Made It Possible

IMAGE Arthur Mitchell rests his chin on folded arms. IMAGE

Dance Advantage contributor, Roger Lee reflects on Black History Month, focusing in particular on a time when dance, along with the rest of America, was segregated. Giving a brief history of ballet dancer and pioneer, Arthur Mitchell, Roger expresses the inspiration that Mitchell and other trailblazers have provided for young black dancers like himself.

Preparing Little Dancers For The World of Clara and Beyond

Nutcracker 2009

Introduce students to narration, divertissement, characters, and themes by exploring The Nutcracker through creative movement. Stacey Pepper Schwartz breaks down the ballet in a way that young dancers can understand, providing an enriching experience that will enhance dance appreciation.

Bringing Native American Dance into the Classroom for Thanksgiving

National Powwow 2007 - Hoop Dance

It is important that children understand that Native American people are not characters in a Thanksgiving story, but a people with a rich and deep culture. And one way to explore a culture is through its dance.

Guest Post: The What, When, Why, and How of Clogging

Clogging; dancer Dorothy Stephenson; photographer Kathy Cobb

“Yes, it’s kind of like Tap. No, it’s not like Riverdance. Clogging is every dance – a dance form that includes everything from Irish step dancing to hip hop and everything in between. Cloggers perform choreography to anything from “Uncle Penn” by Ricky Skaggs to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.” It is a dance form that defines who I was, who I am, and who I always will be.”

Today Is National Tap Dance Day!

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Discover details about National Tap Dance Day, more about Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and his relationship to this event, and ways you can celebrate with the rest of the world.

Profile of an American Icon: A Few Words With Paul Taylor

Photo by Tom Caravaglia

I feel very honored that Mr. Taylor took the time to answer a few questions about his life and work in an email interview. Paul Taylor is one of the most prominent and influential choreographers of our time. Yet, in the late 1940’s he was studying painting and swimming on scholarship at Syracuse University when amidst a series of seemingly unrelated dance experiences he was struck by a revelation or, as he describes it in his autobiography Private Domain a “flash of recognition… an unignorable hunch” that he was to become a dancer.

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