Are tap dancers musicians?

Locked
Haydnseek
Posts: 1211
Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 7:59 am
Location: Maryland, USA

Are tap dancers musicians?

Post by Haydnseek » Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:43 pm

Pardon me for wasting forum space, but I was watching an Eleanor Powell movie from 1941 this evening and it occured to me that a performer like Powell or Bill Robinson was as much a percussionist as a dancer. The tap patterns are fascinating to hear even if you don't watch the dancing. Should we honor such talents as musicians and not just dancers?
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:46 pm

I think they are. Fred Astaire, Ray Bolger, Gene Kelly - they were musicians to me.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Auntie Lynn
Posts: 1123
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 10:42 pm

Post by Auntie Lynn » Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:28 pm

Musicality is a critical component of and for the professional dancer. If you don't have it in my biz, you will find yourself all alone out on Franklin Street with no contract...

BTW, Sauvion Glover is coming to town with a classical program. Don't know what that involves but will checkitout...

GK
Posts: 467
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 8:04 am
Location: Silver Spring, MD

Post by GK » Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:14 am

I could tap-dance my way around this question but I never regarded any dancers as musicians. To me they are reactors to music rather than performers of music.

pizza
Posts: 5094
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 4:03 am

Post by pizza » Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:15 am

Morton Gould wrote a Concerto for Tap Dancer and Orchestra.

Gary
Posts: 1802
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:16 am
Location: Houston, TX

Post by Gary » Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:50 am

GK wrote:To me they are reactors to music rather than performers of music.
I would agree with that statement generally. Tap dancing seems to be a special case, however, as the taps enrich the music more than they do the choreography. So a tap dancer is partly a musician.

pizza wrote:Morton Gould wrote a Concerto for Tap Dancer and Orchestra.
Here's something similar--George Antheil's ballet Capital of the World.


Image


(Excerpts only)
Ballet Theatre Orch/Joseph Levine, cond.
EMI 66548 (M) (ADD) TT: 71:38


From the liner notes
A unique feature of this recording--a feature conceived by the composer as an integral part of the music--is the actual sound of Spanish [flamenco] dancing created by Roy Fitzell, a principal male dancer in Ballet Theatre's premiere performances of The Capital of the World.


Unfortunately, the Centaur label's complete recording of this work does not include the flamenco dancing.
"Your idea of a donut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer; I may have to steal it."

--Stephen Hawking makes guest appearance on The Simpsons

Haydnseek
Posts: 1211
Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 7:59 am
Location: Maryland, USA

Post by Haydnseek » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:56 am

Gary wrote:Tap dancing seems to be a special case, however, as the taps enrich the music more than they do the choreography. So a tap dancer is partly a musician.
Dancers who are real specialists in tap seem to place as much emphasis on the sounds they produce as the visual display of their movements - maybe more. In the movie “Lady Be Good” there is a long sequence in the number “Fascinating Rhythm” that features Eleanor Powell dancing to the music of boogie-woogie piano (I believe the two pianists are Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis no less.) Her complex tapping is really a percussionist’s solo to a piano accompaniment and her dance movements are minimal. In “The Littlest Rebel” there is a number in which the taps of Bill Robinson and Shirley Temple are the music entirely. So, I think a certain type of tap dancer is just as much a musician as a dancer.
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:00 pm

I hope everybody knows that all tap dancers required Foley artists to re-do the tap sound on the sound track. This does allow for a certain license. However, I would not wish to demean the artistic accomplishments of Bill Robinson and many others, and consider it irrelevant whether or not we call them musicians.

Gene Kelly always did his own Foley, just as he always did his own stunts.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Re: Are tap dancers musicians?

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:07 pm

Haydnseek wrote:Should we honor such talents as musicians and not just dancers?
Are there more props for being recognized as a musician than a dancer?
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Gary
Posts: 1802
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:16 am
Location: Houston, TX

Post by Gary » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:19 pm

Here's another example of tap dancing adding to the music. In Frederick Ashton's ballet La Fille mal gardee there's a famous "clog dance". Sorry, can't find a picture of this that I can link to.
"Your idea of a donut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer; I may have to steal it."

--Stephen Hawking makes guest appearance on The Simpsons

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:33 pm

Crimeny! Someone who knows who Frederick Ashton is!
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

GK
Posts: 467
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 8:04 am
Location: Silver Spring, MD

Post by GK » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:54 pm

On second thought I agree that tap-dancing is a special case. It could be considered a form of percussion.

Gary
Posts: 1802
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:16 am
Location: Houston, TX

Post by Gary » Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:50 am

Gary wrote:Here's another example of tap dancing adding to the music. In Frederick Ashton's ballet La Fille mal gardee there's a famous "clog dance". Sorry, can't find a picture of this that I can link to.
Finally found one.


Image
"Your idea of a donut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer; I may have to steal it."

--Stephen Hawking makes guest appearance on The Simpsons

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests