Tradition in Tap

By Arnett, Lisa | Dance Teacher, September 2006 | Go to article overview

Tradition in Tap


Arnett, Lisa, Dance Teacher


Dance Teacher presents teachers who complete a continuing dance education program with a Dance Teacher Certificate of Recognition. (Visit www.dance-teacher.com for a list of organizations recognized.) Simply send a letter to DT Recognizes, Dance Teacher, 110 William St, 23rd Fl, New York, NY 10038. Include your address, name of the organization, proof of participation in the program you attended and a brief description of how the experience has impacted your teaching. This month, DT salutes educators who have participated in Tradition in Tap's workshops.

Tradition in Tap has a clear mission: to preserve tap dance through education, awards and archiving. In talking with two of the program's co-directors, Avi Miller and Ofer Ben, it's easy to understand why preservation is especially close to their hearts. Natives of Israel, the two tap teachers would often fly halfway around the world to study with tap masters and learn new material. "Israel has a history of ruins. Each and every nation that occupied this little piece of land tried to destroy the history and keep only their own legacy," says Ben. "This is why we are so sensitive to the words 'tradition' and 'preservation.'" Because tap history will be preserved only if performances and teaching continue, Tradition in Tap aims to spread the works of American tap masters by educating teachers, who in turn can pass these valued history lessons on to their students.

Tradition in Tap conducts three-day weekend programs in May and November in New York City. Each program focuses on the contributions of a specific master and aims to teach his or her original material, style and technique, through master classes taught by either the master or a direct protégé. At the most recent program in May 2006, which honored Ernest "Brownie" Brown and Charles "Cookie" Cook, Brown attended and participants learned his "Cane Dance" from colleague Reggio "The Hoofer" McLaughlin. Other past instructors include Jane Goldberg, Robert Reed, Shelley Oliver, Mickey Davidson and Tina Pratt. …

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