Tap Dance History: From Vaudeville to Film is a 45-minute
DVD that showcases original and rare tap dancing footage from the
1930s and 1940s. This collection of 14 short films includes soloists,
chorus lines, and novelty acts. Each segment is preceded by a brief
narration regarding the history of that particular style of dance
and also some background information about the performers. A variety
of styles are represented, from the elegant technique of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
to the acrobatic and humorous strutting and singing of The Berry
The narrations were obviously well researched without being over
done. They are concise and to the point, allowing the performances
to speak for themselves. Most of the footage comes from the private
collection of Mark Cantor's Celluloid Improvisations Music
Film Archive. One selection is from the Ernie Smith Jazz
Film Collection of the National Museum of American History
As a former tap dancer, I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD. It was
exciting for me to watch original footage from so long ago and
be completely amazed at the skill displayed by these performers.
I also found the narration to be very interesting and educational.
Tap Dance History: From Vaudeville to Film is not just
for dancers. It could be enjoyed by anyone who has the slightest
interest is history and/or dance. My children, ages 9 and 6, loved
it. They were certainly entertained and were even inspired to try
out some tap dance moves of their own!
Be aware that the footage is black-and-white and does have a few
jumps and black spots, which is to be expected from film that is
up to 80 years old. I personally like this because it adds to the
historical feel, making viewers acutely aware that they are watching
a performance that danced across the stage many years ago.
Tap Dance History: From Vaudeville to Film is an educational
and entertaining look at the tap dancing era of the 1930s and 1940s.
I recommend it to anyone who wishes to learn more about the historical
side of tap dancing or who simply desires to be inspired by some