Jenai Cutcher West | Thinking On Their Feet: Women of the Tap Renaissance

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Thinking On Their Feet: Women of the Tap Renaissance

by Jenai Cutcher West

Thinking On Their Feet documents stories of women breaking racial, gender, and artistic boundaries, fighting to keep tap dance alive, and instigating what is now known as the Tap Renaissance.
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
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1. Thinking On Their Feet: Women of the Tap Renaissance
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Album Notes
Thinking On Their Feet documents the women who revolutionized the art of American percussive dance. Determined to keep tap dance alive, they sought out former vaudeville and MGM hoofers, mostly African-American men, and convinced them to return to the stage, forging a place for tap in venues better known for producing ballet and modern dance. The result was a presentation that departed radically from the chorus girl, vaudeville, music theatre, and nightclub act formats, all ways in which tap dance had been showcased in the past.

These primarily white female artists did not fit the traditional image of the masculine tap soloist, and encountered discrimination from inside and outside the field. Tap dance is an oral and aural tradition, living and breathing in dancers of all ages, from diverse corners of the world. Those familiar with the form are aware of its distinctive history and the unique role of these women, but the widespread significance of their contributions to this era has yet to be explored.

This film illuminates the social, cultural, and political contexts surrounding this phenomenon through intimate portraits of the most influential living women tap dancers emerging from scenes in the studio, personal interviews and conversations, as well as footage of performances and choreography. It features Brenda Bufalino, Heather Cornell, Lynn Dally, Anita Feldman, Jane Goldberg, Sarah Petronio, and Linda Sohl-Ellison. Additional tap artists and historians share their perspectives on the causes and effects of the 'Tap Renaissance.'



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