TAP DANCE , A GROWING DANCE FORM
Many dance historians coincide with the fact that Tap Dance was born around the year 1800 with the arrival to America of the Irish immigration (and European in general) and of the slaves of African origin. It is understood that European influence mostly contributed to the elegance and the technique and the African mostly to the rhythmical language, even though this notion varies according to the period, the place and the intensity.
Similar to jazz, tap dance is the result of the New World’s versioning and adaptation of the Old World and the need for communication – a fact that has enabled it to be more than just a dance form – where as first and fore most a language, that in the 30’s became the most popular in North America. To Europe it arrived late, mostly through musicals, accompanying traditional American music (Jazz, Swing) with which it tends to associate itself. But just like music, tap dance is in constant evolution and the fact of it being a rhythmical instrument allows it to interact directly with any style of music, whether classical, ethnic, Funky, Latin, House etc…
In Spain, tap dance has a growingly strong presence. Barcelona is the home of a great number of dancers (a lot of them internationally known); some were able to enhance their studies in the United States, which has allowed them the opportunity to continue with their local evolution. Many European and American tap artists lately coincide that in the past few years Barcelona has become the European capital of the art form.
This serves as background for the foundation of the “Tot Pel Claqué” non-profit organization, which is an entity created with the objective of promoting and stimulating activities related to this dance form. Within the activities of this association, most remarkable is the creation of the Barcelona Tap Festival in the year 2004, a yearly event produced during the month of May coinciding with International Tap Day (May 25th), celebrating its 6th edition this 2009.
The main goal of this festival is the promotion of tap dance and the becoming of a showcase for dancers in and out of Spain. Within its activities the most notable are:
- Inaugural Gala: in which local professional companies and dancers present different parts of their current work with the intention of portraying the new tendencies and the variety of styles. Many of these works have been displayed at national and international festivals or are touring in and out of Spain. This important event is an incentive that serves as one of the important local stimulations for the creation of new tap shows.
- “Claqué al Carrer”: is a section dedicated to all the local students and schools that wish to participate. The act consists of a street tap exhibition, where different groups of all levels present the work processed throughout the school-year, with the intention that all have an opportunity to dance on stage. The area habilitated for this event also includes different information points that serve as a promotion centre for schools, shows, magazines, books dedicated to this art form
Tap Jam : is a show based upon the improvisation of dancers on stage where different professional dancers, “jam” on stage together with a live jazz trio. Different “standard” classical tap choreographies are included as well.
Besides all the mentioned activities, the festival has had the privilege to include within its framework the presence of different internationally acclaimed tap artists that are invited to give master classes during the days of the festival.
We invite everybody to get to know and enjoy tap, a dance form that every day has more and more followers.
Associació Tot Pel Claqué
Text by Danna Rebassa and Mónica Pérez