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Tap Dance History: From Vaudeville to Film DVD Review by Stacy Kalisz

Dancetime Publications
11212 Indian Trail
Dallas, TX 75229

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 Brothers.

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 (Smithsonian Institution).

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 amazing performances.

Product review by Stacy Kalisz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2011