American Tap

Directed by Mark Wikinson

Thursday, October 13, 2022

American Tap traces the cultural roots of this uniquely American musical and dance form, revealing how the evolution of tap acts as a microcosm of America's shifting identity, anxieties, and demographics. American Tap shows the changing face of tap over the years: from its co-evolution with jazz, the influence of Irish immigrants and their Jig, and tap’s troubled relationship with minstrelsy. Despite tap’s long history in America, it hasn’t enjoyed the same public acclaim since its height in the early 1900s.

American Tap traces the cultural roots of this uniquely American musical and dance form, revealing how the evolution of tap acts as a microcosm of America's shifting identity, anxieties, and demographics.

Through interviews with pre-eminent scholars like Cornel West, musicians such as Jon Batiste, dance luminaries Maurice Hines and Debbie Allen and tap’s rising stars– Michela Marino Lerman, Ayodele Casel, Michelle Dorrance, Joseph Wiggan and and more–American Tap reacquaints the general public with the history and charm of this hidden American art form. In order to understand what it means to be American today, American Tap invites us to dive into America's multicultural history and reckon with its accompanied legacies of racism and xenophobia–revealing how both have shaped tap, America, and ourselves.

This project is made possible in part by the ArtsForward grant program of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, made possible through the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.