After watching a 1930s movie with Hal Le Roy, the tall thin tap dancer with the flashing feet, I looked for other tap dancers. Those old movie musicals always seem to include one – Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bill Robinson, Ann Miller, Eleanor Powell, Donald O’Connor…the International Tap Association lists over 70 tap legends – not many still alive.
In the movie, Le Roy’s character, Harold Teen, learned how to tap dance through the mail. Today, the Masters of American Dance offer a website with instructional tap video lessons. You’ll need to have a basic background to learn the dances, but they sure are fun to watch.
My search for more on tap dancing led me to Linda Sue Park’s Tap Dancing on the Roof, a book of Sijo poems (traditional Korean poetry with a fixed number of syllables like a haiku – but with a surprise at the end). Park, a Newbery winner for A Single Shard, includes historical information as well as tips for writing a sijo. The poem “Long Division” gives the book its title…
“this number gets a wall and a ceiling. Nice and comfy in there.
But a bunch of other numbers are about to disrupt the peace –
bumping the wall, digging up the cellar, tap dancing on the roof.”