Monday, April 18, 2011

Another Inspiring Video: Masters Showing Off

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!


  1. Don - Great post! loved it. Very inspiring for those of us dancers who are over 50. Is this clip from a movie?

  2. Mark,

    Yes, I believe the movie is called "Tap" but I'm not 100% on that. If someone can confirm that I'll add it to the article.

  3. Don - thanks - googled this and found the following in a NYTIMES review which confirms your suspicions. The movie was released in 1989.

    "Early in the film, there's a dance number that suggests that ''Tap'' is onto something quite special: Mr. Hines and the seven old-time dancers, each of whom has his own particular style, join in an impromptu ''challenge,'' in which each dancer takes the floor in succession to comment on and somehow top the performance of the preceding dancer.

    Shot in glowy golden light in an Eighth Avenue loft, the scene is a loving, exciting tribute to the gifts of each of the participants. The dancers are always seen in full figure as they tap, strut and raise the ante of the challenge. Mr. Castle will have none of the usual movie nonsense of cutting between close-ups of tapping feet and sweaty faces."

  4. Yes the Movie is Tap(1989)and yes they do make it look easy!!!!

  5. Thanks for the confirmation on the movie title. I've added the title and a few details to the article.

    Your feedback is always welcomed!!


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Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero