Yesterday I signed up to Theatre Tap London’s Tap and Tea study sessions taking place every Thursday at 4pm on Zoom for the next six weeks! They have a different tap pro scheduled to talk each week about tap history, context, technique and so on, followed by a Q&A.
I attended the first one this afternoon, (along with 48 others!) with special guest Nathan James, who spoke passionately about his PhD research into the big MGM musicals, concentrating particularly on Ann Miller and Eleanor Powell.
Some interesting facts of note:
- A lot of the Dance Directors in those big movie musicals couldn’t actually dance. It was more about staging. Those that could dance tended to have a ballet background and tappers like Ann Miller did a lot of their own choreography…without acknowledgement.
- Female tap dancers never got a lead role. They weren’t considered the romantic lead type with all that aggressive hoofing!
- The dancers didn’t actually wear tap shoes in the movies. The tap sounds in the movies were recorded and added in later.
I’m looking forward to next week, where we’ll be learning from American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tony Waag, who I was lucky enough to take a class with at Tap Dance Festival UK back in January 2019.