Magazine article Dance Teacher

Jam Sessions

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Jam Sessions

Article excerpt

Since 1989, tap dancers have been celebrating National Tap Dance Day (NTDD) on and around May 25, the birthday of tap dance legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. This year, prime events are happening in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago.

The Philadelphia Community Tap Project (PCTP) offers tappers of all experience levels from across the city a free educational and performance opportunity to tap to live music. This event grew out of choreographer and dancer Pamela Hetherington's desire to keep tap alive in Philadelphia and continue a celebration held 20 years ago by Tap Team Two, a Philadelphia institution that still exists and carries on the legacy of LaVaughn Robinson,

"As a young tap dancer in that company, I enjoyed these celebrations, and it was how I met and performed with so many master hoofers, like LaVaughn, Germaine Ingram and Buster Brown," says Hetherington, who recently opened a new tap studio, Sound Space. "Over the years, the celebrations dropped off, and last year, I decided to do something about it. I took four tap boards into South Philadelphia's Passyunk Square and invited the city to come out and jam." This year, to draw an even larger crowd, PCTP will perform at City Hall's courtyard.

Participants rehearse with a guest choreographer-this year, Ray Hesselink-for six hours to learn the piece for the National Tap Dance Day performance on May 25. Visit phillytapproject.com.

In NYC, the American Tap Dance Foundation's Tap Attack celebration is hitting the streets. The free event is filled with jam sessions by ATDF students (children, teens, adults), the Tap City Youth Ensemble, the Tap City Junior Ensemble and appearances by special guests. …

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