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Photo by Jacqueline Chang, courtesy of Ailey Extension

Marshall Davis Jr.'s introduction to tap dance began at 10 years old at African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, where his father is director, in Miami, Florida. Training began in sneakers and dress shoes that Davis Jr. did his best to get sound out of. "My father was reluctant to invest in tap shoes, because he thought it was likely I would change my mind about dancing," he says. But it didn't take long before Davis Jr.'s passion for tap became undeniable, and his father bought him his first pair of tap shoes. Just one year later, Davis Jr. became the 1989 Florida winner for the Tri-Star Pictures Tap Day contest, a promotion for the movie Tap, starring Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. Through that experience, a new tap-dancing future was opened.

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Savion Glover is one of the biggest names in the dance world, and perhaps the biggest in the tap world. The trailblazing hoofer's hard-hitting, rhythmically intricate style has fundamentally altered the tap landscape.

Glover is also a master teacher. But during his many years on the scene, he's never appeared regularly at a major dance convention. That is, until this season: Glover is now teaching at JUMP Dance Convention, scheduled to appear at approximately 15 more cities on its 2019–2020 tour.

We talked with JUMP director Mike Minery, himself a gifted hoofer, about working with a living legend—and how Glover is already changing the convention class game.

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The celebration of tap dance legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's birthday comes each year May 25, and the dance world goes wild for it! Since 1989 the day has been celebrated by tap lovers everywhere through music, movement and festivals.

Interested in joining the party this year? Here's one special way to celebrate NTDD in 2019.

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Technique
Photo by Kyle Froman

Do you know how to teach this classic tap rhythm?

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Technique
Hebach, left, and Morrison at the ATDF studios. Photo by Kyle Froman

Susan Hebach and Margaret Morrison believe it's important to get your beginning tappers moving through space with their flaps. An easy way to do this is with a traveling flap-heel. Remember to lift the knee and bring the leg with you as you travel forward.

The next phase? Take away the heel and replace it with a clap—this helps students develop enough foot strength and control to balance on the ball of the foot.

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Technique
Denise Caston with her assistant Edward Tolve. Photo by Kyle Froman

The double time-step is a foundational tap step that Denise Caston says often pops up in Broadway auditions. In fact, auditionees are frequently asked to demonstrate the time-step one by one. "Choreographers want to know: Can you learn it quickly? Can you keep time? Can you stylize it while doing both of those things? And can you sell it?'" she says. Caston constantly reminds her students to keep their weight slightly forward throughout the step, having them check their posture in the mirror.

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Photo courtesy of the Giagni family

Broadway choreographer Danny Daniels passed away on July 7 in Santa Monica, California, at age 92. Daniels was known for his choreography in musicals, such as Walking Happy, Annie Get Your Gun and The Tap Dance Kid, for which he won the 1984 Tony Award for best choreography.

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News
Photo courtesy of the Syncopated Ladies

Tomorrow night, L.A.'s fiercest lady hoofers are lighting up the stage at the Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood. Chloé's Arnold's Syncopated Ladies present Syncopated Ladies: Live Concert—a one-night-only tap-dance extravaganza.

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