Tap dancing began in the United States as a combination of ethnic dances performed by African slaves and Irish indentured servants. By the 1920’s it was a popular form of entertainment in Vaudeville shows, where African-American dancers dominated. Film stars including Fred Astaire and Shirley Temple put on tap shoes, and popularized the dance form. Today, tap dancing has evolved into a rhythmical, hip-hop dance-influenced style.
Every Monday night at the Movement Center in Essex, a group of about fifteen teenage and adult dancers gather for class. VPR’s Sarah Ashworth recently stopped by the class and found them tapping to everything from Broadway show tunes to pop music.
AP Photo/Kathy Willens