This article was originally published a year ago (April 2010). It included an 8 minute clip showing some amazing tap dancing from a movie called "Tap". Sony flagged it for copyright violation (removing the clip) so I'm updating and republishing the article with a set of small clips from the same movie.
The final clip is from a Nightline interview with 3 of the stars from the movie. Worth hearing how tap dancing was passed from generation to generation.
Special thanks to "Anonymous" who sent me a comment that the original clip was removed AND pointed me to most of the new clips I've included. I'd directly thank him/her, but I don't currently have a name. (I love all the comments/e-mails I get from readers! It keeps me inspired and writing.)
Being competitive in the dance world isn't really anything new. Fancy footwork has been around for centuries, and dancers showing their best moves to others is a time honored tradition.
As you watch the clips below, you'll see more "mature" dancers doing moves that many associate with Michael Jackson, Usher and the current generation's dancers. The reality is, the current dancers are building on the shoulders of the giants before them, even if they think they're being original.
The clips are from a 1989 movie called "Tap". In the movie they call it a "challenge" but modern dancers often call this concept "The Circle." Everybody stands around and one dancer shows their stuff in the middle. The others encourage and support them. In some cases it's competitive (often known as a "battle"), with the dancers trying to upstage each other.
In many cases it's a community thing, with the dancers rotating from spectator, supporter and cheerleader, into the performer of the moment. There is still an element of competition, but often it's a mutual society of admiration, with high-energy support for the one dancing in the middle.
These masters make it all look soooo easy. The mark of true pros.
Click this link for a modern hip-hop remix with the film's visuals. Not the same but still interesting.
Here's an interesting interview with 3 of the films stars, showing some moves and discussing how they "steal" moves and extend the dance over time. They stand on the shoulders of the giants before them, just like the rest of us.
Check these guys out and tell me what you think!