Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Tap Dance
Tap Dance

Tap Dance

Tap, a hybrid dance form deriving from both African and Irish cultures and distinguished by its rhythms, has a long history in Chicago, one made apparent by a resurgence of the genre in the last decades of the twentieth century. Paralleling the international growth of tap dance, Chicago's revival grew out of an alliance between an older generation of African American tap dancers and a younger generation of rhythm tappers. Individual artists like Jimmy Payne, a tap performer and teacher in Chicago since the 1940s, provided living links to the vaudeville and Broadway tradition, while forums like the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, an annual tap festival begun in 1990 by Lane Alexander and Kelly Michaels, fostered awareness and collaboration between artists and audiences of various backgrounds. At the close of the century, leading Chicago tap companies included the Especially Tap Company, Steppin' Out, Rhythm I. S. S., and the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project.

Ann Barzel Dance Collection. The Newberry Library, Chicago, IL.
Ts'ao, Aimée. “Tap Resurgence Blows into Windy City.” Dance Magazine 71.7 ( July 1997): 26.