“Oh that is so nice that you are a tap dancer, it is such a dying thing.”
Why as tap dancers do we allow people to make this statement? With what information do they possess that would allow them to make such an assumption? I believe that there is a famous saying about assuming things, mostly dealing with the aspect that the assumer and those of us that buy into the assumption are deemed an ass.
With all of the talented dancers and young students out there, I am offended when I hear that tap dancing is dying. As long as human beings make the choice to lace a pair of shoes and lay metal to wood with honesty and passion, even if only one person, the dance will remain alive in their spirit. In the end it is our own responsibility to keep the dance going forward in our own way. It is our responsibility to make sure that people know we are here and that we are heard. It is our responsibility to honor our past while forging forward a bright future. It is our responsibility to educate ignorance and reshape perceptions. It is our responsibility to accept that tap dancing has given us everything and that in return we owe it all of our energy, our fortitude, our tenacity, and our infinite humility in making all realize that tap is alive and well in the hearts of all who practice, nurture, and above all love it. It is our responsibility to tell those who think that tap is dying, NO! TAP LIVES!
For many years I have smiled and deflected when any variation of tap dancing is a dying art arises and I have decided that it is time to use whatever force I have to make sure that people know that TAP LIVES!
I believe the following:
Tap lives in the sweat and tears shed on wood floors.
Tap lives in the spirit of the dancers who came before us.
Tap lives in the possibility of the dancers who will come.
Tap lives in the smile of the listener who is transported by it’s sound.
Tap lives in the bonds that are forged between people of all backgrounds.
Tap lives in the communication of things that words can’t express.
Tap lives in our own personal history.
Tap lives in our own personal pain and growth as human beings.
Tap lives in you.
Tap lives in me.
I am here. I am still learning. I am evolving. I am alive. I am a tap dancer. Go forth and tell everyone how tap lives in you! Happy National Tap Dance Day from OPTAP!