Recommended: Tap Dancing America: A Cultural History

By Constance Valis Hill; paperback; 441 pages; $29.95

In this comprehensive history of tap dance, author Constance Valis Hill leaves no stone unturned, beginning with tap’s Afro-Irish origins in the mid-17th century and cycling through to its 1930s heyday, 1950s so-called decline and 1980s renaissance. Thanks to a staggering collection of photos, interviews and eyewitness accounts of early performances, Hill’s book gives this uniquely American artform the nuanced study it deserves.

Notably, Hill devotes a significant chunk of the book to today’s innovators (many of whom have been featured in DT’s Technique column): Savion Glover, Roxane Butterfly, Jason Samuels Smith, Chloé Arnold, Michelle Dorrance, Derick K. Grant—making it an up-to-date and valuable addition to any American dance history course.

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